Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 10:17 am  |  49 responses

Video: David Stern Talks in Harlem Barbershop

Some of the things talked about: dress code, age minimum rule and losing players to Europe. Oh, and this — “Who’s going to win the NBA Championship?” David Stern: “I know I just can’t tell you.”

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  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    can’t watch at work, but that seems like a captivating story that The Commish is telling

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    “i know, i just can’t tell you”. Darth Stern then proceeded to use the force to crush the larynx’s of everyone in the barbershop…

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    His business savvy takes over when the dude walks in with the knock-off t-shirt and he questions the authenticity of it. Funny sh*t. And the potential for fixing the Finals, while still a conspiracy theorists dream, sure seems really odd when the Sternbot says “I know who wins” so matter of factly and then adds a slight chuckle to make it seem tame.

  • http://yahoo.com Logues

    stern is a dumb*ss

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    I hate Stern, but he really is a damn business genius. He keeps his cool with ALL those damn questions. Damn.

  • AlbertBarr

    Stern knows what makes the NBA great…PROFIT. He is just protecting his product. Great interview. He is actually VERY respectful, imo.

  • izzo

    He seems to deal with pre approved questions pretty well. And as is commonplace with Stern, this was a good PR move.
    I loved the way he says to the guy “You’re right, you’re right” and then proceeds to explain why he’s wrong.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Brothas showed restraint, I’d punch him for the Suns suspensions, kick him for screwing the Kings over, and slap him for not dealing with the terrible refs.

  • http://www.shoenut.blogspot.com ShoeNut

    Pretty cool interview. Tough questions. I wish I was there so I can ask him why is the WNBA still going on?

  • vmcb

    This made me gain a little respect back for Mr. Stern. Glad to see he’s got a sense of humor and keeps his cool. NBA is in good hands.

  • Yesse

    Well this is kinda cool.Good press for Stern, but im sick of him fixing games and having blind referees in the league.Just get a european comish and european refs.Some of the worst teams might even succeed with fair games.Not surprised why he knows who wins the championship.Maybe its, because he decided it already and the refs are gonna kiss butt to that team all season.

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    Yesse: you do know international referees are, if you can imagine, far worse than NBA referees.. right?


    Refs dont fix games, and neither does Stern.

  • adbphilly

    i dont why, but everytime i see david stern, i just have to laugh. especially at the draft when everyones screaming at him. good interview tho. they really grilled him with some tough questions. But in the end everyone did a ceremonial clap together, even stern. and that cracked me up the most

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    I watched it again, I dunno if these questions are fixed. Unless it was actually acted out, people were shouting out questions and stuff.
    I don’t like Stern, but I respect his business savvy, and he’s just too damn smart to be stumped on any question that can be thrown at him.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LOL they asked him about Ron Artest! The look on his face was priceless.

  • http://twitter.com/stevengilley15 Gilley

    Actually a pretty good convo. It could have been staged but I was entertained and enthused and felt it was genuine for the most part. I just said to myself, Dictator NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could never do such an interview in a forum such as an urban barbershop!! lol

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    David Stern said the same thing he’s been saying. Still ducking stuff. But, he’s a cool cat. I can’t hate on him when I compare him to the other commissioners.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    If this isnt a setup I got a little more respect for Stern. But the “I know, I Just can’t tell you” ?????????? Then that laugh to make it look less suspicous.

  • JB

    He rocking the ‘Lo?

  • Joe

    Maybe the questions were pre-planned, maybe not. Does it matter? You could have anticipated the questions yourself, too. Of course they’re going to ask about the age limit and the dress code. Stern didn’t need to be a mind reader.

  • Joe

    It’s just like Obama going into a debate and wondering, “Hmmm, I wonder if they’re going to ask about health care and the economy.” Of course they’re gonna ask! David Stern knows what people are gonna ask him.

  • Tommy Vercetti

    This is one of the oddest things I have ever seen in my life.

  • http://www.manutd.com z

    i don’t think it was planned, like joe said, when the topic is hs to pros or dress code, he can pretty much go on auto-pilot. he didn’t say anything ground breaking or especially clever. a guy sitting on the sidelines looking like he’s going to the beach is a twisted way of saying i don’t want a bunch of black cats looking like rappers scaring away the corpo dollars. the football analogy doesn’t stand either because their rule is as much about the SAFETY of the players than the quality of play. you don’t want a 18 year old getting tackled by ray lewis.

  • Yesse

    Jukai: Stern has been fixing games too easy.Your comment on european officials, sounds like you got something against europeans.What about the Kings-Lakers series scandal?Why does LeBron get away with every travel?If the games are not rigged, then the refs are dumb.I could probably do a better job with sunglasses on.

  • 6marjon

    i dont know why there’s so much hating on stern, he’s made the nba into a global organisation. living in europe i wouldn’t get half the games without him plus he’s a nice guy and i truly think he’s a basketball fan.
    even if this was planned it’s good to see it done what other commissioners have seen go into the streets to talk to the fans.

  • http://erica@boldazmedia.com erica dacosta

    ;okay i give him props on going to harlem he should have gotten a cut while hewas there but of course he is going to cover is butt maybe we will see some better calls.i would love to see a sister ref some games

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    Yesse: Uh…. Have you seen European games? Phantom foul calls, uneven technicals, constantly overruling referees nowhere near the play, more carries than Wade could ever conjure up in a season… a lot of it stems from having different referees from different countries, but even still, some of the games are really badly officiated.
    Your comments on the NBA make it sound like you got something against the United States.
    Z: Stern explained the dress code insanely well, dude. I mean, I don’t like the dress code, and Stern had me convinced.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Just cause a top flight lawyer was able to convince you of something doesn’t mean Z is wrong.
    Stern basically said that changing the dress code was all about projecting a certain image. However, instead of talking about the League’s “thug” image and needing to counteract that, he mentioned some mythical beach dude. Sure, Nash, Dirk and some others may have dressed like beach bums, but they weren’t the problem. Nobody cared that John Stockton only wore ratty polos and slacks, never suits. In fact, people loved him for it.
    Nope, the problem was young black cats in sweatsuits with chains and earrings. Stern just didn’t say that because he ain’t stupid. He knew if he constructed the mythical beach man, it would make it easier for that all black crowd to accept.
    Like I said, Stern ducked the real issues the same way he always has. The real issue is that the NBA is selling a league full of young black millionaires from the hood to a fanbase of wealthy white people who drive through the hood as quickly as possible. Stern has to fit his audience and that’s what the dress code was created to do. He just won’t talk about that because most folks hate discussing racial realities.

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    Allen: What? I thought Stern was being NICE cause he didn’t say “the media sees a bunch of guys in shorts five sizes too big hidden by shirts seven sizes too big with a fur coat and twenty chains and thinks they’re uneducated, greedy, dumb blacks” and decided to say “dressed like they were at the beach.”
    Why do you have a problem with this? He didn’t dodge the question. His answer was correct: he wanted to project the image that these guys DID work hard and were professional. You’re angry because he didn’t want to defend an angry crowd he was talking to?

  • http://dsjklf.com Jukai

    *defend should be offend.
    Sure, Stern could have been ‘real’ and said “the world doesn’t understand and doesn’t accept the urban lifestyle and both as a business move and an image move to our athletes, we added a dress code so they could be imaged properly while not taking the heat the media was giving them” but why? That would just piss off either a) urban youth and/or b) the media.
    And, as I said, Stern is a downright business GENIUS and would never do that.
    Stern wasn’t dodging anything.

  • izzo

    Stern is a PR man. He does this kind of thing beautifully, the fact the some people here seem to think that he would be walking into that barbershop were it not for the camera crew and promise of a write up is testament to that. He really addressed nothing though, he gave stock answers to stock questions, he came off well, because that’s how he always comes off. Anything I’ve read, seen or heard of with Stern has portrayed him as personable and humorous. His answers seemed straight off of an FAQ though. While I have no real problem with the dress code (most businesses have them, the NBA is work), his rationale for the age limit is predictably stupid and point dodging. Stern is good at being Stern, but he’s not a good Commissioner, he’s just good a seeming like one.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    So, you admit that Stern could have been “real” and instead he decided to take the corporate route.
    And you don’t understand why I said he dodged the issue?
    No, you do I understand, you just disagree with me and think that was a smart decision. Cool.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Izzo gets it.
    The only point I disagree with is that Stern isn’t a good commissioner. Given the realities of the NBA’s image, I think he does a masterful job.
    But, his main job is PR and making sure revenue streams stay high. That’s it.

  • izzo

    Allenp: My thinking that Stern is a bad Commish is based on three things
    1)Expansion and thinking the NBA should be global.
    2)The reffing situation, which will probably get worse. Nothing tarnishes a brands reputation worse than corruption and gambling, especially considering the NBA is subject to a bigger magnifying glass than any other organisation.
    3)His continued unwillingness to overrule bad league rules.

  • izzo

    Having said that, I believe him, from a PR stand point, to be a genius. I guess it just depends on what people find to be a priority.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think he only has so much power on the ref issue. Honestly, I think NBA refs get held to an impossible standard that no other league struggles under. Do they have issues, sure. Could Stern be more upfront, sure. But, are the NBA refs the Devil, nah, they do a tough job fairly well.
    I agree on expansion. Not sure what you mean about the league rules.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Allenp: IF Stern was upfront about the dress code issue, you would be complaining about how its all true, and that the NBA really does want to crack down on inner-city culture. But he didn’t, and he spoke with political correctness(he’s a freaking billionaire businessman), and instead you’re complaining that he took the corporate, freaking billionaire businessman way.

  • 6marjon

    has anyone ever tried reffing an ameteur basketball game let alone one the pace and pressure of an nba game. the amount of players that complain to refs are obscene so i doubt we as an audience are helping by complaining about every pivot foot.
    the dress code was probably primarily to do with ‘gangstas’ however if you go to any office up and down the country or any truly professional outlet you have to dress smart, just because half these players earn more money than the league itself doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t adhere to the rules. Even if it is to do with the people wearing tracksuits and earrings the same does apply to everyone else no matter who you are.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    So now you know what I’m going to say? Come on now, when have I not spoken my mind on this site?
    I said exactly what I would have said, and what I have said for some time.
    Jukai and Izzo get it, even if Jukai didn’t say it.
    NOBODY wants to talk about the black/white issue of the dress code anymore. Particularly not Stern who realizes that all he will do is confirm the worst fears of black folks and accuse his fanbase of being racists. That isn’t good for business, so he doesn’t do it.
    My thoughts are, fine. Cool. Notice I didn’t say he had to do that
    What I said was that this interview was NOTHING SPECIAL. It wasn’t illuminating. It wasn’t groundbreaking. It was David Stern at a photo op giving the exact same answers he always gives and dodging the underlying racial issue.
    Read what I wrote from the beginning.

  • Nawlins Realest.

    at 1:35 i thought he was gonna say….”dont interrupt me!”

  • http://www.slamonline.com peter lopez

    carry on, Mr. Stern

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Ah, fair enough Allenp. All good.

  • RedRum

    I know but I just cannot tell you??? man, Stern is a genius! Best quote of the year

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: I “get it,” that’s true. I just don’t think it was needed to be said. I don’t think it was stock like Izzo said (Izzo is a glass half empty guy) and I think Stern had to be careful with what toes he stepped on in there. Obviously, only dudes that they knew were civil were allowed to show up, but Stern can’t come in and say “oh, well the dress code was established because the media, ESPN especially, hates black men and will try and tear them down at any chance, and that includes bashing their clothing style on the sidelines.”
    As I said, he answered the question given to him honestly, he just avoided some details about it. That isn’t dodging to me, it’s being careful with word choice. He DID admit it was for image, to portray people in better light. He just didn’t say it was for the black players (and Jason Williams).
    Allen’s right though, the interview isn’t very groundbreaking at all. I just think (if it isn’t all set up) that Stern was pretty cool for doing this.
    I actually DO think Stern is a bad commissioner going forward. He was AMAZING for the NBA. He was probably the best commissioner that basketball ever had. But I think his ego is far too big, and he sort of thinks he can do no wrong.
    I actually think Stu Jackson needs to be fired, hardcore.

  • FRBX

    I dont see the issue with the dress code. I dont care where your from would you go into a job interview wearing your everyday clothes? No. Stern is right. These guys are professionals and should dress like one too. I dont care if you are from the hood or not, its just unacceptable. Ask any person from the hood that is 45 and up what they think about the way kids dress, I guarantee they are going to tell you that they look like clowns. Im sick of things always being about race, whats wrong is wrong and what is right is right. Im a 20 year old black kid from the Bronx and when i see kids out here wearing saggin skinny jeans with their asses hanging out it makes me sick. You dont think Lil Wayne, Jeezy, lol even Gucci Mane isnt P.R? I’ll tell you what, it is. Tell sell an impossible image to live up to. Why would a kid working part-time and in school fork up 500 dollars for a pair of prada shoes? Dont look at the NBA look at the record companys playing the hood like puppets.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    FRBX, the point that you’re missing is that it was always cool to dress casual in the NBA as long as you dressed like John Stockton. That was fine. It’s not like hockey where people have always worn suits. The problem was when AI came to the league, that kind of casual wasn’t fine anymore. Even now, you’d see some Euros like Jaric with destroyed jeans a white v-neck and a blazer. Hardly interview attire. But that’s fine too. Why? It ain’t hip hop.

  • http://www.blackfives.com Claude

    Am I the only one who wonders if the New York Renaissance (a.k.a. “Harlem Rens”) were mentioned in this chat? When are the Knicks going to where old Rens jerseys in a “Legacy Night” match up against the old Philadelphia Panthers (Sixers) or Los Angeles Red Devils (Lakers)? :-)

  • S

    If Stern were fixing games, he would have had the Cavs and Lakers in the finals