The Phil Jackson response

Posted by Scott Howard-Cooper

OKLAHOMA CITY – A day after commissioner David Stern threatened to begin suspending coaches and players for criticizing referees, Lakers coach Phil Jackson, one of the main targets of the hard-line message, jabbed back at Stern but said he would probably tone down future comments.

“I think when you start throwing one- and two-game suspensions in the threats, I think that means a lot to both ball clubs and to coaches,” Jackson said Friday before Lakers practice at the Ford Center. “It seems awful heavy-handed to me, but David is one that isn’t shy about being heavy-handed.

“There’s a certain gamesmanship that goes on that he obviously he feels cheapens the game. It never was explained to us until it suddenly came down here this last week that arbitrarily they’re going to do this. I missed the coach’s meeting this last September, so maybe they explained it at the coach’s meetings last year because they said there were a couple instances last year where, I think, it was [Stan] Van Gundy and [Rick]Adelman were fined during the playoffs for statements that led to manipulating the press, I guess is the best way I can say it. I don’t know how you guys could be so naïve, being members of the Fifth Estate, Third Estate, Second Estate or whatever estate you’re members of.”

But when asked whether Stern should be fed up with what has become a steady stream of comments on the officiating, Jackson said: “I don’t think so. I think there’s a situation here that – favoritism on the NBA court, I don’t think anybody’s going to be deluded into thinking that people don’t gets calls on the court regardless of how you say it. It’s just a natural evolution of the game and a natural evolution of who gets the ball the most, and they’re going to end up a lot of times at the foul line. Unfortunately it didn’t work that way for Kobe [Bryant] last night but it did for Kevin [Durant]. But that’s the way things go in this game. You have to accept it, swallow it, and move on.”

Durant attempted 13 free throws Thursday and Bryant none, just after Stern said in a press conference before tipoff that “coaches should be quiet, because this is a good business that makes them good livings and supports a lot of families. And if they don’t like it, they should go get a job someplace else.” The commissioner later added, “And if someone wants to try me the rest of this playoffs, make my day.”

Bryant was asked about the discrepancy after the defeat that cut the Lakers lead to 2-1.

“I’m not quite sure how to answer that,” he said.

Bryant paused.

“Yeah. Both teams played hard.”


  1. JOE JOE says:

    Stern is just some old retard that try to make himself feel big and almighty, but sure he must know how not just the league but people who loves the game feels about his threat (yeah yeah whatever, blah blah blah, keep talking if that makes you feel in control). This guy needs to let the game play itself out, stop trying to pretend the refs are not human, speaking out against the ref is an effective way to keep them in check, draw the media into it and let the people put pressure on them passing fair judgment.

  2. Kira Elmer says:

    The refereeing has been absolutely atrocious in the last two years in the play offs. Especially when Steve Javie or Joe Crawford are reffing. I agree with Phil 100%. Stern is ruining the NBA, we definitely need a new commissioner, and some better refs. There’s something wrong when players are getting 3 fouls within the 1rst quarter, and the other team has already been to the line 13+ times…The refs are very questionable, and the NBA hasn’t been the same. This sport is getting corrupt and Stern needs to retire, as he is definitely ruining the NBA.

  3. Felicien says:

    The comment by David Stern is disappointing. If you make a good living from a job, you should not complain about anything? What about himself who makes a good living from basketball? Why does he complains about players and coaches behavior? He should keep quiet too. That’s fair game.
    So the NBA thinks referees are like GODS and can not be criticized? where is the freedom of speech? Talking about the last Lakers and OKC game, how can two competitives athletes like Bryant and Durant go at each other and one does not get even a single free throw vs more than 10 for the other? Give me a break, this is a clear favoritism for Durant. The NBA should understand that Durant is an excellent talent and does not need them to help propell him to the superstar level for their marketing. He should be able to elevate himself as did Kobe, Jordan, Lebron and so on. David Stern always think about money and with the help of his corrupt referees, He will make anything happen and threatens people with suspensions if they complain about it. I think he needs to step down as he is becoming a problem for the game we love.

  4. LANCE BECKEM says:

    I have been saying the nba refs r horrible..The last 5-10 yrs it has been bad officiating.& the coaches & players have a right 2 voice their opinion…How dare David Stern talk about suspending people 4 it when they already fine them…makes no sense.The nba needs younger refs 2 rectify this & a new commisioner…he’s getting old also.I hope he reads all the comments posted.Get a better perspective David….the nba’s black eye these days is the officials…not the players or coaches.That’s where the problem is…the players go out & play their butts off every night 2 put on a great show & u want 2 point fingers at them.What about the players & coaches integrity…STOP FLOPPING DAVID…OH I 4GOT…THATS SOMETHING U OR THE OFFICIALS STILL CAN’T GET RIGHT…CHECK THE REAL PROBLEM MR. STERN…I HOPE PLAYERS & COACHES KEEP SPEAKING THEIR MINDS…

  5. McKinley says:

    I agree with Phil Jackson. How is it Kobe did not get any free throws in game 3 ? Kobe gets fouled almost ever time he takes a shot. Yet the referees are reluctant to call fouls in his favor. But they are quick to T him up if he complains. Superstars are suppossed to get those calls. Where Kevin Durant barely gets tapped and the whistle blows. There is something wrong with this picture.

  6. J4Y says:

    David Stern Needs to be suspended for his “NO GOOD THREATS”!!!!
    How do you expect the game to be played correctly if your refs
    dont know how to call a 48min game completly DOWN THE MIDDLE!?
    by Stern saying “if coaches & players don’t like it, they should go get a job someplace else.”
    then added, “And if someone wants to try me the rest of this playoffs, make my day.”
    that shows you dont want your league (PLAYERS & COACHES) to have a voice!
    we dont care about the refs the players are what we need! they go out there everynight
    and leave it all on the floor and the coaches are there to push them, and at the end of the game its
    the referees say so? NO THATS BULL**** that unacceptable STERN!!
    Lets hold a rally and say we want a NEW COMMISSIONER for the league sake!!

  7. jon byrd says:

    as of now im done watching the nba until stern is gone..i will get the scores in my local newspaper

  8. jon byrd says:

    Marjorie Evans
    April 24, 2010 at 12:52 am
    I am very disappointed and disgusted with the level of professionalism from Mr. Stern. His comments on “make my day”
    does not justify and correct the consistent missed and or inaccurate calls by the refs. I know we are all human but, there are three refs on the floor and everyone of them needs to have their vision checked. Instead of them being man enough to correct their missed calls there and then on te court, it is handled as if they are untouchable.
    Mr. Stern you owe it to all the fans to fix this problem here and now. You too are highly paid and your family is well kept by dedicted fans of the NBA. Therefore, you too need to be straightened up and you have accountability to yourself, the referees, the coaches and the fans. Please remember “no man is an island, and no man, stands alone” Do not allow your foolish pride to jeopardize your judgement and to do the right thing. If fans start to boycott the NBA games it will hurt everyone. If you cannot handle the job, then step aside and let another man take over. Fans watch and go to the games for enjoyment, do not bring politics come into this game.

  9. jon byrd says:

    time for a new commish sterns getting old and hes becoming just another grumpy old man

  10. Joz says:

    Stern needs to be fired.

  11. Omar P says:

    I still remember when Stern F’d the Suns out the playoffs against the Spurs when he ridiculously suspended Amare and Diaw. I lost a lot of respect for Stern at this time too and I’m not surprised he’s still able to hurt the nba with his tyranny

  12. SBMC says:

    To sum things up on the issue,

    …By the comments of Mr. Stern, therefore i observe that the referees are truly controlled by their superiors and takes commands from them. If that is not true, Stern wouldn’t make such comments, yes? Yes.

  13. Jeff says:

    It is possible to get consistent officiating. Just not in the NBA for some reason. I really enjoy the NCAA Final Four tournament because the officals do a great job. I have grown to dislike the NBA Playoffs because of how poorly and inconsistent it is officiated.

    Evidently David Stern thinks coaches and players complaining is his #1 problem when in reality it is the officiating they are complaing about that is not being addressed.

  14. Steve says:

    Mr. Stern: what is best for the game of basketball is for the rules to be applied fairly and evenly. When that doesn’t happen it hurts everyone. We can all understand a missed call here and there but sometimes it is just too obvious to ignore! Are you insinuating that the fans are too stupid to see what is happening and that if the coaches would just ‘sit down and shut up’ we wouldn’t notice the bad officiating? Keep up the heavy handed tactics, continue to ignore the real problem and you will lose more than ‘one fan’.

  15. Jim says:

    Now the officiating errors have reached a new high in deciding the results of many tight games, which is why many of my friends stopped watching NBA games all together. Many errors are so obvious to everyone other than the referees, yet the referees insist on their calls. They make themselves a laughing stock, if you can laugh, and the victims to the officiating methods. The right thing for NBA to do is to reform the officiating methods. The calls should be allowed to be challenged and reviewed on the spot. Many sports, such as tennis and football, do this successfully. If NBA makes the officiating methods more fair and open, it doesn’t have to worry about few bad referees who involve in gambling or the wide suspicion that NBA manipulates the game results. It can win back many fans.
    Mr. Stern did a good job in growing NBA in the past, but his handling of the officiating could lead to the downturn of the league, like how Major league baseball handles the drug issue.

  16. nba fan says:

    Stern thinks is a dictator, he can with his referees call any play, foul and no matter if they are right he doesn’t want any one to challenge them.

    Well, because of that i think Stern is an ass, he should be removed and replaced. Nowadays, we have TV replay, they can on the court replay the play and see if it’s a good call or not, they can do that for important foul, or even better, like they allow each play to foul 5 times, how about allowing the coach to replay let say 3 play or 5 a game and have the 3 referees decide after watching the replay from different camera angles, it’s done now in hockey and football why not basketball.

    I let you judge by i said but i think it makes a lot of sense.

  17. Cyril B says:

    So referees are beyond reproach? No redress of grievances? Is this supposed to be fair competition?. Stern has pushed this too far, and is now making himself and the NBA referees a puppet monarchy inflated with its own importance.

    There should be an independent inquiry board which can be pursued by clubs (perhaps limited to two or three complaints per season) where notorious bad calls can be addressed with video evidence. They won’t change the outcome of games, but they can be used as a referee “scoring system” so that referees making too many bad calls will lose “rating”. Conversely, referees can gain rating from accumulating all the accurate calls they make.

    This would be a much-needed check on unfair practices, and complaints would have the appropriate channel.

    And like the other writers, I hate watching games where calls are ignored or imagined, whichever team I am cheering for. It ruins the entertainment.

  18. Dan says:

    Stern worn-out

  19. Richard Lee says:

    I understand your sentiment Allen Fieseler. After noticing numerous inconsistencies throughout the playoffs – espeically in the last three years beginning with Game 2 of the 2007-2008 Finals, I began to see what Rasheed Wallace meant when he said “Don’t get too excited here. It’s all a show.” I don’t really listen to what Rasheed has to say most of the time, but it appears there are definite allegiances in the NBA when it comes to officiating. When certain talented players are provided a certain latitude with their playmaking, and others are not. When certain players are babied (eer I mean rewarded) by the NBA ( and really who runs the NBA? Let’s be honest here.), by being sent to the line every time they drive into the lane, and how certain others drive as well, get hacked on their shooting arms and fail to go the line – numerous times at that. I have never known a player in the history of the NBA as talented and hard working as Kobe Bryant and never receive superstar treatment in regards to officiating. Michael did. Magic did. D-Wade does, and so does La Bron. It’s obvious David Stern does not like Kobe with the not so subtle statements he has made over the years in regards to Kobe. His lack of enthusiasm in presenting the Championship trophy and MVP trophy to Kobe was clear and he made no effort to hide his disappoint at Kobe’s 4th ring. I watch still however hoping Kobe will win another despite being an outcast GOAT (Greatest of All Time) potential shooting guard. Make no mistake, Kobe must win with no support from the NBA, unlike other greats of the past.

    • elyprince says:

      I honestly agree with you. I believe David Stern has been dying to replace Kobe as the face of the league ever since the Colorado incident. It seems his obsession with the NBA’s image and influence is at the expense of the actual sport that it represents. And all this “where amazing happens” and “where caring happens” is just garbage. Let me decide if it is amazing and please don’t act like you care about anything but money.

  20. true nba fan says:

    to allen fieseler:
    do you really think he cares about loosing ONE “playoff fan” ? no he doesnt so quit criticizing people when you obviously havent been watching the game for the past couple of years.

  21. federico says:

    it seems like nba is ruled by a one person kingdom willing to put himself in a prominent position all the time.
    This is a ridiculous situation and it is worldwide evident how grotesque it is.
    He has to be the show, the boss the clown and everything.

  22. Joezilla says:

    It is obvious that David Stern is trying to avoid the root of the problem here. It is true that they are providing jobs for the coaches, but we have to take note that they are professionals who are entitled to have their own competent view on how the game is played at the level that they are playing. I believe that the problem here is Stern is making a sport a mockery of how it should really be: fair and competitive. The point that the coaches, and a whole lot of them, are making is the questionable calls made by the refs. It is Stern’s duty to not only check on coaches but to check on the officiating staff as well. We have to admit that some calls are really, and I mean really biased, the LA-OKC match up is a very good example of how bad the officiating has been in the NBA. The FTA discrepancy is too much to chalk up to Kobe’s lack of aggressiveness. A couple of bad calls over the years like a Kevin Garnett not getting technicls after taunting Calderon and other European players, or Hedo slipping up on his own after no one touched him that gave him two game winning free-throws this year and many many other bad calls this year. It is understandable that Stern wants to protect the popularity of the game, but in the process he is sacrificing its integrity and the spirit of competition that was built by all the greats. Overall, it is not too ludicrous to assume that there could be ulterior motives behind the bad calls, not necessarily on Stern’s but possibly of the referees. If Tim Donaghy was able to influence the games while eluding punishment for so many years it is fair to assume that he might not be an isolated case. And lastly, David Stern needs to accept the freedom of speech that everyone enjoys in the league and in the US: If Joakim Noah is allowed to call Cleveland a really boring and unappealing place, then why can’t the coaches criticize the officiating, a facet of the game that not only affect leisure but the coaches’, players’, GMs’, Team’s, and Owners’ professional lives. ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, MAY IT ALL BE FAIR IN BASKETBALL MR. STERN, MAY ALL BE FAIR.

  23. Mike says:

    I don’t think the post game comments should be handled.
    What’s really gettinbg sad are the in-game comments from players at the referees. It’s so annoying that players think that they have to look at the ref after every attempt. They’re not overjoyed after a slam dunk, isntead looking sad at the ref for not getting a N1.

  24. Shaneel P says:

    Im a big fan of the playoffs.. and it just gets to my last nerve when the right calls arn’t made.. sometimes the fouls are shady and only the professional refs can decide that.. but when the call is obvious and they dont call it.. it really bugs me.. kobe had zero free throws… hes a superstar… hes been playing this game for 13 years.. he knows how to draw fouls.. it suks when they dont respect his experience.

  25. its sad of what the commissioner had become, of all the international countries the NBA represents, North Korea is what I think of his the most, if he could only see the veracity of what the coaches are trying to say and see into the broad spectrum of how the game is being played nowadays,. Kevin and other upcoming star will be superstars in the future but right now lets make them earn that elite spot today and not give them that as there birthright, and the thing that bothers me the most is, isn’t this playoff blackmail? suspending coaches for what they want to say and feel,. Hmmmm this is basically suspending basic rights right? if I were him I’ll look into game fixing by refs isn’t that the pass problem of NBA refs? and what’s next? I’ll be suspended for posting this and being a fan?

  26. John says:

    BUSINESS??? So in order to gain more profits, refs are instructed to give leverage on the teams that needed wins. NIce Stern!!!

  27. Ali I says:

    I think Stern should be replaced with someone with some sence. Instead of addressing the issue with the refs, he’s taking the freedom of speech from players and coaches and then threatening there jobs what a P.O.S. He does not represent the organization and certainly not the fans!

  28. Eric says:

    Why can’t Stern just admit the officiating has been poor and create a plan to resolve the issue. It obviously is an issue. One day the league admits the refs missed a call at the end of a 1 point game in OT in Utah vs OKC (Durant was fouled and the refs did miss the call.) This was refreshing honesty. A few weeks later Phil Jackson points out the refs have also made some mistakes this season regarding foul calls in Durant’s favor. This was also honesty, even if it is typical of PJ. Next Stern threatens suspension to coaches if they don’t sit down, stop complaining and consider themselves lucky to have a job, and said it with a smurk on his face. This came off cold-hearted and arrogant through his body language and smurk. It seems Stern doesn’t see it as an issue. As a fan that has good vision, I can honestly say the officiating has been poor for at least five years now. Why can’t Stern just admit the officiating has been poor and create a plan to resolve the issue. It clearly is an issue.

  29. plzoltron says:

    Stern is the problem with this great game…. He needs a new job… I hope Jackson has no problem saying what needs to be said, and bash those refs when deserved….

  30. R A says:

    Maybe its time for the commissioner to look into the referees ,as they say if there’s smoke there is a fire.

  31. Malcolm Fox says:

    Maybe the more appropriate thing for Stern to do is to get better Refs for the playoffs instead of suspending coaches and players for telling the truth. It’s time for a new NBA Commissioner, period!

  32. b barber says:

    Look! Basketball is no different than any other sport where human judgment is involved. Look at baseball with the strike zone, look at football with holding. The point is, the amount of complaining about calls from coaches and players alike has become unbearable in the NBA!! Put yourself in the referee’s shoes for two minutes, constantly being badgered by both sides for every decision you make! Perhaps David Stern’s approach is not perfect, but if something is not changed very soon the reputation of this league is going to fall!!!! I say shut up and play, that’s how I was taught!!!!!!

  33. A.S says:

    Stern’s a godfather all of a sudden? I understand and respect the fact that he has the best interests for basketball at heart, but I question as to whether the fans, players and coaches, and David Stern have the same definition for ‘basketball’s best interest”.

    If Kobe and Phil Jackson retire right now from the playoffs, the NBA could lose between 10- 20% of the viewers based on the fact that Kobe is one of the biggest, if not the biggest draw in the NBA, and Phil Jackson adds to that greatly.

    If he doesn’t like it, tell him to shove it. The players are not paid to agree to the refs, its only their duty to obey them. Obey does not mean agree, or like, or approve.

    It is okay for the NBA to come out and admit the refs made a mistake, but when refs make a mistake we can’t ridicule them? The NBA should be suspended for ridiculing the refs, by openly admitting to their mistake,

    Are words of black tie businessmen that much more prominent than the words of the people who shed sweat blood and tears for the fans? I’d listen to what Phil Jackson has to say over David Stern anyday.

  34. JOHN WALTON says:

    David Sterns is a man in a position that gives him power with out having any talent for what he governs. He knows nothing of the
    game, but he feels that he must use this power that he has so he makes up rules that will impower him. David your emotions are so wacked out because we fans refuse to reconize your self indulging rules. Step off before you get stepped on. You are playing with real men here.

  35. I am very disappointed and disgusted with the level of professionalism from Mr. Stern. His comments on “make my day”
    does not justify and correct the consistent missed and or inaccurate calls by the refs. I know we are all human but, there are three refs on the floor and everyone of them needs to have their vision checked. Instead of them being man enough to correct their missed calls there and then on te court, it is handled as if they are untouchable.
    Mr. Stern you owe it to all the fans to fix this problem here and now. You too are highly paid and your family is well kept by dedicted fans of the NBA. Therefore, you too need to be straightened up and you have accountability to yourself, the referees, the coaches and the fans. Please remember “no man is an island, and no man, stands alone” Do not allow your foolish pride to jeopardize your judgement and to do the right thing. If fans start to boycott the NBA games it will hurt everyone. If you cannot handle the job, then step aside and let another man take over. Fans watch and go to the games for enjoyment, do not bring politics come into this game.

  36. allen fieseler says:

    I stopped watching the playoffs years ago because of stupid referee calls or non calls. Anyone who watches the regular season or who has played the game on what ever level knows the refs call a different game during the playoffs. I (and my family) got tired of looking at an obvious play and either a lame call or a no call being made. Call it what you will, intentional, ignorance, or whatever, the people who are actually involved are going to protest no matter what their position. Me, I just don’t watch anymore and wait for the final score to be posted. Shame on the league, shame on the refs, shame on Stern. You lost a long time playoffs fan years ago.

  37. dk says:

    Unfortunately this is a business. David Stern should probably be a bit careful as this business has been good to him as well and he could find himself out looking for a job somewhere else. Last time I checked, no one was going to any venue with his name on the marquee.

  38. gene johnson says:

    Stern is a putz…pure and simple! He has messed up so many times with his asinine judgement calls. Its a shame the teams can’t fine his sorry big mouth when he lets it run down the drain! P.S. NEVER liked him!

  39. Rick says:

    Here goes David Stern … by his own words, …”don’t mess with me or i’ll show you who’s in charge” …
    By the way, when you say that this is a good business and coaches should be happy to make a living here, doesn’t that sound a lot like staging a play? get with the program? what does the “program” call for these playoffs ?

  40. Kevin Matthews says:

    This situation without the ability to criticize referees is just dumb. I am a high school coach and feel the same frustration in that we often just have poor refereeing. What do you do? You talk to the commisioner and hope that over time they will improve, but sometimes we see TERRIBLE refs, and sometimes good ones. The pros feel the same, but why can coaches not criticize them? Are they too perfect, or too weak? What’s the deal? Why do we have to protect them from ANY criticism? Coaches can get criticized and fired, bt who is watching the refs? Honestly, the ones they can learn the most from to improve, is the coaches. But I wonder how much they listen. The good ones definitely do; I have experienced that. They are not to proud to learn and get better. But the bad one are to proud to learn and get better. And a coach ought to be able to say so. Maybe the leage should put a moratorium on refs reading the papers during the playoffs and that would insulate refs from feeling manipulated?? Refs just need to get a thicker skin and keep improving. Period.

  41. gabe says:

    Stern needs to stop over reacting. PLayers and coaches should be allowed to criticize officiating. Especially when it’s questionable. No one complains when players or managers get in the faces of umpires in baseball. It’s actually entertaining. And we all see how profitable baseball has become over the past decade.
    Making threats of suspensions and fines of coaches and players is an outright challenge of free speech. Without the players and the coaches that coach the players you don’t have a league. The older Stern gets the more sensitive he becomes. Does Stern not realize that he lives in a democratic country?

  42. Jim says:

    Yeah, kobe shoots the ball 29 times and goes to the foul line 0 time? Stern wants the coaches and players to stay out of the media with it? durant goes for more attempts than the entire LA team. Kobe quite about being fouled during game after a missed attempt? I dont think so… gets any calls? not that game…. obviously telling refs directly didnt work. By being so heavy handed with his “threats” only makes it seem more like stern knows about another agenda. First time to the playoffs, new city/market… lets not get swept by the champs.


  43. Scott says:

    Stern is trying to turn the nba into politics! We need a new commisioner. I agree with Phil!