David Stern Also Thought Eddy Curry Made Too Much Money

The WaPo‘s Mike Wise re-creates an amusing scene from a June labor meeting between owners, players, and David Stern (who had the line of the night): “Before Game 4 of the NBA Finals in early June, almost a dozen players and about 10 owners met to frankly discuss their economic differences and how they could avoid a lockout before their current labor agreement expired less than a month later. If there was ever a moment to crystallize why there very well may not be an NBA season and what this is about, it came when Mark Cuban spoke freely about a recurring frustration among his peers: stale contracts. ‘When we had Tariq Abdul-Wahad, he didn’t seem to want to train, didn’t really want to practice — he really was interested in a lot of things besides basketball,’ the Dallas owner said, according to three participants who attended the meeting, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Cuban added Abdul-Wahad, the former player whose physical ailments sidelined him for a full two seasons while with the Mavericks, had a guaranteed contract of six years, $40 million. ‘And I’m stuck with that,’ he said, the participants remembered. A lawyer for the players’ union then shot back that J.J. Barea, an emerging spark off the bench for the Mavericks en route to their first NBA championship, was making a pittance of $1 million for his considerable talent. ‘How about that? You’re getting a bargain in a guy like J.J. Barea.’ Finally, NBA Commissioner David Stern could not take it anymore. ‘All right, you want to go tit for tat, I’ll go tit for tat,’ Stern said, according to the participants. ‘I’ll see you J.J. Barea and raise you Eddy Curry.’ A shot to the gut, just like that.”