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David Stern thanks fans, everyone else in Hall of Fame speech (VIDEO)

Aug 9, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

I’ll be as quick to criticize David Stern as anyone, but he unquestionably deserved to be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Friday night handled his induction speech well.

Stern didn’t make a lot of “I” statements and rather turned the spotlight on others who helped him along the way, who shared his vision, and who in some cases lifted the league up and would have done so no matter who was commissioner. It was a self-effacing speech that focused on the organization, not the man running it.

Stern simply seemed to get that the institution was bigger than the man… at least he did on that stage Friday night. We can debate whether he did most days at the NBA office another time, but Friday night Stern hit all the right notes.

  1. saint1997 - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Look, I think while he made some bad decisions it’s natural to do so when you’re in a job for 30 years. The position the NBA is in and where he’s left it, it’s incredible and it’s only getting better. I’m not sure if it’s fair to be critical of someone who, whilst at the helm of the sport in America, carried himself for the most part very well

    • stephenlin - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      Saint1997, I agree with you. I’ve heard someone describe David Stern as a “bullying visionary,” and I think that’s a very accurate and succinct description of his legacy. Stern had many nasty moments, but he also transformed the league, something which many players thank him and give him credit for.

  2. duhwighthoward - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    A commissioner in the Hall of Fame? Talk about diluted.

  3. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Oh great; we let this guy in and we’ll have to let in every commissioner with a 30 year tenure.

    It’s not like he oversaw the period of greatest expansion in league history or the globalization of the game or anything.

  4. emeraldcityfan - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Thanks for letting our team get stolen by the carpetbagger.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 9, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      “I want to thank all the fans… except for the ones in Seattle.”

  5. cantonbound13 - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    So Stern is the first member of the Miami Heat to make the Hall? Maybe they can finally retire a legit jersey in their dump of an arena.

  6. tdl8 - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    It’s already been 5 years since Stern retired? WOW! The 5 yr HOF eligibility period really flew by!

    • tdl8 - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Oh wait, Stern made rules that benefited him! HOF 6 months after retiring instead of 5 yrs, 2 LeBron championships fueled by Joey Crawford and tampering to grow the band wagon and the league revenue, getting paid more per yr than any NBA player, leaving Adam Silver in place to screw over owners for one mistake that was made in the privacy of their own home, etc. The HOF just became a watered down joke!

    • redbaronx - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      @tdl8 – The 5 year waiting period only applies to players. And if you think Adam Silver is “screwing over owners” for one mistake in the privacy of his home, you’re pretty blind. Sterling has had many racist actions (not comments mind you) over the years, has been sued by former Clippers staff, and by all accounts is a horrific owner.

      Adam took the opportunity that this issue presented to take Sterling out on grounds that Sterling is damaging the league, which he was. The Clippers were (once upon a time) a team that no one wanted to go to, and their high draft picks would flee at the first opportunity, or the Clipps would trade them to save money. When the Lakers went south in 2005, Sterling saw an opportunity and for the first time since he bought the team in the early 80’s, started spending money to improve the organization.

      With so many players and coaches disgusted by Sterling, it is quite possible that the Clippers would have seen an exodus of talent from the organization, throwing it back a good 30 years. Not to mention the reactions from fans and the (already) exit of sponsors would have lowered the value of the organization in the long run.

      Adam Silver did the right thing. Period.

  7. censormynameandmycomments - Aug 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Stern is just too special to wait the 5 years like everyone else. The last self important act of a despicable little troll of a man.

    At least after today we never have to talk about him again.

    • redbaronx - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      @censormyname – Your comments really do need to be censored! Stern never made it about himself. Not in his final speech at the HOF, or in his position as Commissioner. The 5 year period is for PLAYERS. Get it? Got it? Good!

  8. caeser12 - Aug 9, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Dear David Stern: Thanks for looking the other way for decades, allowing me to become rich beyond my wildest dreams, while I did everything that was against all you claimed to stand for.

    Signed: Donald Sterling.

    Baaa sheep.

  9. pbtunpaidwriter - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Silver >>>>> Stern

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