Hang Time Podcast, Special Commissioner Stern Edition

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’re not the only ones amped up for the NBA Finals.

NBA Commissioner David Stern is ready for the Celtics and Lakers to get busy with the business of deciding basketball’s pound-for-pound champ, too.

He graced the Hang Time Podcast crew with his presence, wisdom and time, helping us set the stage for the rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals (above) that we’ve all been debating around here the past few days:

He also had some keen observations on the league, the proposed ” free agent summit” involving LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and maybe others. And be careful what you put out there on Twitter, because he’s following, whether you realized it or not.

Commissioner Stern wasn’t the only heavy hitter we enlisted to join us the Finals preview edition of the Hang Time Podcast. Long-time FOHT and NBA TV analyst Dennis “3D” Scott also joined us, dropping by the hideout for an in-studio appearance. You won’t want to miss his opinions on what franchise the free agent class needs to keep an eye on.

For a cheat sheet, the Commissioner joined the podcast at 1:38 and 3D came on at 25:54.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Follow the Hang Time Podcast on Twitter and you can also follow both V.H. Thomas and myself.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

76 Comments

  1. "Stretch" says:

    Stern can act and talk like the Lakers and Celts are such big rivals, but look at the numbers …. Lakers are 10 time champs since moving to LA (15 of 30 including when they were in Minneapolis). The Celts are 17-3 all time in the Finals! Only 3 freaking losses, out of 20 … seriously? The Suns or Magic would’ve been a more interesting series!

  2. ARNIE says:

    Special Features Send this link to a friend View Participant’s Press Room Page
    David Stern Told S.I. Legalized Gambling on the NBA May Be a Huge Opportunity Boynton Beach, FL Saturday, April 17, 2010
    In May 1996, Horace Balmer, the NBA’s vice president for security, had two speakers flown to Norfolk, Va., whose messages were even very disturbing. Michael Franzese, a former mob boss who fixed professional and college games for organized crime, and Arnie Wexler, who for 23 years was a compulsive gambler. Franzere said, “I talked to the NBA rookies earlier this season . . . and it’s amazing how many confided to me that they have gambling habits. I’m not going to mention their names, but if I did, you would know them” “I personally got involved in compromising games with players, and it all came through their gambling habits.’ ( THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT -May 11, 1996 )

    Ten years ago, as a compulsive-gamblers counselor, I was asked to fly to New York to the National Basketball Association office in Manhattan and met with league officials, players and union officials, concerned about players’ gambling. I was told, “We have a problem, and we’re trying to find out how bad the problem is” Officials asked me to keep my calendar open for the spring of the following year and said to me that they wanted me to address every team and player in the league. They then flew my wife in, and we had a second meeting they asked us develop questions that were going to be given to the players to answer. “We need to know how big the gambling problem is in the N.B.A,”

    When I hadn’t heard from the N.B.A, I called and asked, “When do we start?” The talked were cancelled, and the response I got was this: “They said that the higher-ups didn’t want the media to find out”

    Some years ago, I was on a TV show with Howard Cossell (ABC Sports Beat). The topic was: Does the media encourage the public to gamble? David Stern, NBA commissioner said: “We don’t want the week’s grocery money to be bet on the outcome of a particular sporting event”

    Yet on Dec. 11, 2009, commissioner David Stern told SI.com (the website for Sports Illustrated) that legalized gambling on the NBA “May be a huge opportunity”

    I wonder how many addicted gamblers placed the first bet they ever made on an NBA game.

    The National Gambling Study Commission said that there are “5 million compulsive gamblers and 15 million at risk in the U.S” Forty-eight percent of the people who gamble bet on sports.

    Get the real scoop: Talk to me, Arnie Wexler, one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject of compulsive gambling and a recovering compulsive gambler. I placed my last bet on April 10, 1968, and has been involved in helping compulsive gamblers for the last 40 years. Through the years, I have spoken to more compulsive gamblers than anyone else in America and has been fighting the injustice of how sports, society and the judicial system deal with compulsive gamblers.

    Athletes may be more vulnerable than the general population when you look at the soft signs of compulsive gambling: high levels of energy; unreasonable expectations of winning; very competitive personalities; distorted optimism; and bright with high IQs.

    It is time for college and professional sports to outline and execute a real program to help players who might have a gambling problem or gambling addiction problem. Yet college and professional sports still do not want to deal with this. They do not want the media and public to think there is a problem.

    And over the years, I have spoken to many college and professional athletes who had a gambling problem. One NCAA study a few years ago reported: “There is a disturbing trend of gambling among athletes in college” You can’t think that these people will get into the pros and then just stop gambling.

    Compulsive gambling is an addiction just like alcoholism and chemical dependency, and all three diseases are recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual. Nevertheless, we treat compulsive gambling differently than the other addictions. Society and professional sports treat people with chemical dependency and alcoholism as sick persons, send them to treatment and get them back to work. Sports looks at compulsive gamblers as bad people and gets barred them from playing in professional sports.

    There are people in various sport’s halls of fame who are convicted drug addicts and alcoholics, yet compulsive gamblers are unable to get into these halls of fame. In fact, as far as professional sports goes, an alcoholic and chemical dependent person can get multiple chances, whereas a gambler cannot. I have been fighting the injustice of how sports, society and the judicial system deal with compulsive gamblers for many years.

    If colleges and professional leagues wanted to help the players, they would run real programs that seriously address the issue of gambling and compulsive gambling. Education and early detection can make a difference between life and death for some people who have or will end up with a gambling addiction.

    One sports insider said to me: “Teams need to have a real program for players, coaches and referees, and they need to let somebody else run it. When you do it in-house, it’s like the fox running the chicken coop. You must be kidding yourself if you think any player, coach or referee is going to call the league and say, ‘I’ve got a gambling problem, and I need help.’ ”

    The Wexlers run a national help line for gamblers who want help 888 LAST BET

    Arnie Wexler ( aswexler@aol.com)

    Arnie & Sheila Wexler Associates

    Boynton Beach FL

    Office #: 561-200-0165

    Cell#: 954-501-5270

    Arnie Wexler
    Arnie & Sheila Wexler Associates
    Boynton Beach, FL
    561-200-0165

    Contact Arnie Wexler
    Ask a question with InterviewNetSM

  3. stanley opdas says:

    i am a laker fan but now i’m not. i’m disappointed now that it is clear that games are manipulated by that croc Stern. He should be changed, he’s destroiyng the sports of basketball. he should let the players play. Dignity is much more important and what is money? to that croc Stern money is all that matters…nba is manipulated watch the greatest tradgedy in sports lakers vs kings 2002 west finals. Its sad to say but until now the ref’s are on the lakers side its very obvious just watch the play 10 times…2010 nba finals..the real enely of the celtics are the ref’s not the lakers…Croc Stern are u not ashamed? i know u knew it all along..ur old now and u have only a few years to stay. are u happy to go with all ur money or with dignity..anyway i know ur a croc karma is on his way to u old man

  4. LakersIn6 says:

    Baller – “I want Kobe to go into the finals as many times as he can until he retires but frankly, i am sick of the lakers getting to the finals. i mean how about some other teams instead of boston, la, or orlando. cavaliers would be nice or hawks or bulls or suns”

    None of those teams you mentioned are finishers… but lets analyze : Cavaliers had their chance. The Hawks are to stupid and are from Atlanta so you can scratch that… Bulls, we will probably see them soon.. and once again, the.Suns can’t finish have 0 basketball skill other than Nash.

    After this season is over and when free agency begins and trading starts… we may be looking at some new teams to finally get into the playoffs : Clippers, Hornets should rebound and be back..(cp3 too good)… Knicks (finally) Grizzlies (I just feel it) Although the teams to beat in the West will be :Thunder/Lakers/NUGGETS… East : I cant really place one yet, because the East is gonna be different… but the Magic and probably the Bulls or Heat. =D

  5. Samuel says:

    Cuz,

    I have to give you major props for landing the big “Fish”. Man, you’re on it. Stern is the greatest CEO out there and I laugh at these Scrubb “Haters” who like to continue to bash Stern and the league but continue to be addicted.

    A couple of things. Kobe on MJ’s level. Not so fast. When MJ was at his best, there was no debate as to who was gonna win.
    I do agree with Stern about the zone. I love the rule change and I think they should keep going and outlaw the defensive 3 second rule. Just let them play basketball. They are pros, they should be able to figure out a zone.

    The Summit is a joke. Not one member even made it to the Conference finals.
    I keep bringing up Sheed every year but people keep laughing but look at him now.

    I believe the Finals will be closer but I think Boston will win in 6 or 7. Boston is a much deeper team and the “manhood” factor will still come into play. Cuz, you hit the nail on the head. Gasol and KG is the key and I believe Bostons bigs will overpower the Laker bigs.

  6. Jerome says:

    @golakers
    your comment is so biased,, your saying that no one on earth can stop kobe?hell millions of people would say that to lebron also,, but where is his cavs now? who beat them? it’s the celtics,, who beat the lakers in the finals two years ago?celtics,, and who is the best defensive team in the playoffs so far?celtics,, and lastly ,, what wins championships? defense,,!!!

  7. Jerome says:

    shut up you “moron marlin”!

  8. Go lakers says:

    Lakers are gonna win this thing. I mean comeon guys kobe is having his best playoffs ever, he is making shots with 2 defenders standing over his shoulders. Bottom line is: NO ONE ON EARTH CAN STOP KOBE. KG is good but can he stop both Bynum and Gasol? The answer is no he will stop Pao and Bynum will be free to kick ass, and when lamar jumps in there is no body to stop him too. If artest holds back 20% of Pierce’s scoring ability the celtics will fall in 5. If not 6 or even 7, but the Lakers wont lose at home.

  9. tonyman262 says:

    In the NBA there are a few historic basketball arenas.
    You have to start with Madison Square Garden’s; it has history, and it has panache, for both the pros and for college level basketball. Home to Madison Avenue, Broadway, and Wall Street; can you say MONEY.
    There is the Great Western Forum; the home of ShowTime, where the NBA actually became an event to compete with the NFL & MLB. This is where full grown cheerleaders first started energizing the crowds, this is where the beautiful beaches and great weather is, and of course this is Hollywood, where dreams are made to come true. The Forum was also where big time celebrities started sitting courtside to see and be seen.
    There is a vicious and unsubstantiated rumor that they play basketball somewhere in Massachusetts; I think Lexington or Concord, maybe its Martha’s Vineyard or something. They actually won a title a couple of years ago; first time in decades. Sort of like one and done or the modern day One-Hit-Wonder.
    Today the place for NBA Basketball is once again L.A. But now the venue has changed. The current “Mecca” for basketball at the professional level is STAPLES Center. Since 1999-2000 through the 2009-2010 seasons the STAPLES Center will have hosted 7 NBA Finals with the Lakers wining 4 (5 including this year). STAPLES Center has all of the ambiance and celebrity of the Forum, home to the reigning NBA Champions, and home to the first back-to-back champions since…well since the last back-to-back-to-back champions; did I say the Lakers, and oh yea again it’s STAPLES Center.

  10. BigL16 says:

    This is ridculous. The refs try to do their best out there, and although they f up sometimes, at least they try their best.All refs whether its’ the NBA, NFL,NHL, and especially MLB; make mistakes. Besides, It’s not like if any of you guys can do a better job out there. Saying the game is predictable is ridiculous as well, if you knew who would’ve won, well, lucky quess, maybe put some money on it next time. IMO watching a Celtics vs Lakers finals is great especially that the rivalry is between two powerhouses who historically are in a level that none of the 28 team are at.Also I would like to say Kobe is nowhere near MJ. For one MJ was his own man and never impersonated any other player, just idolized. If Jordan had a championship team earlier in his career, and another superstar like when Kobe had Shaq, who was the best player on those championship Laker teams, Jordan would have about 7 or 8 championships. Hell, if Jordan didnt retire in the first place he would’ve had eight straight. Kobe might be near or in the top 5 by the end of his caeer but he’s no where near Jordan’s level. IMO Kobe isn’t even the greatest Laker.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Rondo, you’re being biased. First of all, the first T from Perkins in that game did exist.

    Second, he seems like he’s on steroids all the time, too much anger. Perk got all the other Ts in the regular season (1 on every 5 or 4 games) because of bad officiating? I don’t think so. He and D12 always think they don’t do anything even if they kill the other guy, always think they’re being chased by the refs hahahaha

    Third, if Kobe gets 2 technicals for a FAIR reason, then yes it’s going to be fair. The rules are there.

  12. Celtics says:

    One more day fence jumpers Laker fans. One more day, and you’ll start buying Celtics jerseys. The Celtics will only lose game 1, that’s it. Enjoy it. After that is 1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4.

  13. Big Wes says:

    Why are yall trippin the refs do their job and the commish does his. It’s up to the players to do theirs if they don’t win you don’t see them complain, so why are you guys complaining you aren’t even playing. If you want to talk about the game maybe you should join Ernie Kenny and Chuck on TNT

    • RONDO says:

      Re: aussie shannon:
      FAIR?? what about perks 2 Ts, and only 1 gets recinded..it was not to big a deal with the magic, as the C’s were able to overcome in the next game, but you cant tell me that ejecting a starting player can’t throw a game! Celts couldve won that game, but instead, now they play in the finals with one of the best defensive centers in the league 1 away from a suspension..FAIR? How bout one T and yer out for everyone? The way the games are called, I’ll be very surprised if Perk doesnt get suspended..especially being a center how can he not, unless he doesnt play D.
      What if Kobe gets two Ts in the 1st qtr of game 1.would that be fair?

      Nothing will ever be execellent when it is structured without any recourse or penalty for making mistakes..when it is not held accountable..where else in this world is an organization able to do whatever it wants without any consequence??? nowhere!

  14. mitchell says:

    i feel that it is entertaining to try and figure out who potentially will meet in the finals each year. As fans, sportswriters, and analyists we can only speculate what “might be.” the lakers and the celtics are the marquee teams of the league and u have laker and celtics fans and they show their pride. it’s good to see them face one another again. I can care less about “payback,” as a laker fan, but it just all seems to even out btwn these two teams, anyhow, over the years. The lakers i believe have somehere around 15 or 16 championships and the celtics around 16 or 17. the rivalry is great! I think these are the two best teams in the league and im looking forward to a competitive series. Either team can win and a “sweep” does not mean that a team didn’t come to play. It simply means that posssibly each game was hard fought and a team came up short. i believe the lakers may win in 6. But whatever happens, Paul Pierce grad from my high school so i will always have a sentimental support for his success. Peace. This was one of the better NBA seasons.

  15. Lakers says:

    Lakers champion… this final
    2008 Celtics win without Ariza and Bynum

  16. LAKERS IN 5 says:

    KG = Has been, king of the cheap shots, his legacy doesn’t deserve another ring, Pierce = fake another injury you tool, Artest will man handle your game like a 10yr old. Allen = Your gonna get bit by the black mumba. perkins = way too angry to be a factor, Wallace = has been, only good for a few corner trays when it doesn’t matter. Nate = ha ha are you serious? playoff experience? no circus against the Lakers, only win on the court for the Celtics is Rondo and nash is way better than Rajon. Celtics might as well run with Scalabreney. this isn’t 08.
    Id say lakers sweep but i know celts will pull one out of the hat. Cant wait to see kobe accept the trophy on Bostons home court.

    • BigL16 says:

      No chance for Lakers…Celtics in six. I want to say blowout for the series-clinching game but either way their bus ride home will be even worse this time.

  17. Dave says:

    Stern is an ok guy. Only thing is the refs are terrible. This is coming from a European, and trust me real refs are in the Euroleague. In the Nba refs are usually wrestling style: a bunch of clowns. They never call for travelling (eg.Lebron going for a layup = at least 3 or 4 steps or nearly every player on a fastbreak) and give too much importance to “star power”. I think it really takes away from the actual game.

  18. Aussie Shannon says:

    Ohh man… normally I could care less about these kind of forums, but it warrants comment seen as though I completely disagree with the very first comment. I can’t see how in anyone’s very limited imagination that anyone could come up with money being the reason why Boston and Los Angeles are in the Finals again. I have followed the season fairly closely this year as I have been off work sick, and I can easily say that the Officiating has been excellent. I think like any sport, I have seen the Referees get it wrong maybe 5% of the time, but I would NEVER go as far as saying that it has decided the fate of any of the games… If someone can site a specific example, I am more than happy to be wrong! If Commissioner Stern has orchestrated this whole season, then Kudos to him because it has been Epic. By the way, before 2008, Boston had last appeared in the Finals against the Lakers in 1987!!! So to say that you are sick of the rivalry is completely ignorant. Totally agree with the New generation of players comment. I am a Boston fan, and I did not expect to see them in Finals again, but am extremely excited that they are… I think it’s definitely gonna be 6 or 7 games, and it’s a flip of the coin to see who’s gonna win. It’s gonna be whoever comes out on top in Games 1 & 2. Go Boston!!

  19. Rick J jaymes says:

    LEBRON OR KOBE WHO IS BETTER??????????????????????????????? LEBRONE BLEW THE PLAYOFFS IN GAME 3 N 4 9 TURN OVERS?????????? YES HE HAS A TRIP DUB IN THAT GAME BUT CAME ON NOW???? ALL THEM FREE THROWS HE MISSED?

    KOBE WOULD NEVER BLOW A GAME IN THE PLAYOFFS FOR ANY REASON THAT IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN

    LEBRON – VINCE – A.I., PENNY, A. HOUSTON, GRANT HILL…………………………..THESE GUYS ARE QUESTIONABLE FOR WINING A CHAMPIONCHIP……………..AND OTHER THINGS AND THE HALL OF FAME AS WELL YES I SAID IT LEBRONE DOES NOT SEE THAT SOME PEOPLE NEVER GET A RING OR GO BACK TO THE CHAMPIONCHIP

    STOCKTON AND MALONE AND LEBRON JUST BLEW IT MOM I MEAN WOW WOW WOW WOW…….. SO SAD PEOPLE SPENDING HALF THIER PAYCHEQUE TO SEE HIM SLEEPING OUTSIDE TO GET TICKETS AND YOU BLOWING THINGS………….CA MON NOW

    THE CELTICS BEAT YOU THIS WAS NOT THIER YEAR……….

    I THINK LEBRON, DWYANE, BOSH, JOE AND ANY BODY ELSE SHOULD ALL GO TO A NEW TEAM MR. BLOW A PLAYOFF SERIES NEEDS TO STAY OUT CHI TOWN NY LA DET PHILLA GO TO A SMALL CITY WITH HIS PUNK BEHIND

  20. Squall says:

    LAKERS @ 6….

  21. Howard says:

    I thought America was “the land of the free”. Now it seems like if nobody employed by cannot give an opinion about the calls made by the referees. I am of the opinion that if the ref made a bad call HE SHOULD BE CALLED OUT!! The referees are being portrayed as the little toddler that ‘can do no wrong’ in the parent’s eyes and if the child does something wrong, ‘oh he’s just a kid. Do you expect him to be always on his best behaviour?’. This is not right. Referees are professionals and referees should be held accountable for their mistakes, even if it means players and coaches calling them out post-game. I’m sure, if that is done, the standard of refereeing will improve, rather than the debacle I’ve seen for the past 2-3 years

  22. AdamRC says:

    I wouldnt say Derek Fisher flops more often than Varejao… If anything i think hes a good fit for the Triangle off.. I kinda think he played a big part in helping the Lakers get back to a top team.. I wouldnt say he helped more than Gasol though.
    Should be a good series. Lakers imo have a great player, while the Celtics have a solid team.. Id like to see the Lakers win.. but I think if Bostons bench can play as good as they have earlier in their careers, it might not be that much of a contest. the X factors imo , are the teams bench!

  23. king james says:

    Lakers gonna win>>>> no doubts celtics good tooo
    but they cant stop black mamba…….

  24. THE FLASH RONDO says:

    GREEN CELTICS IN 5..KEEP DREAMING FAKERS FANS!!!!@_@

  25. bwniner says:

    STERN DID NOT SAVE THE NBA DURING ITS DARKEST YEARS BUT MAGIC AND BIRD DID….. THOUGH THE COMMISH HAS DONE A GOOD JOB OF KEEPING THE LEAGUE AT SKY HIGH STATUS…HATS OFF TO YOU STERN.”””””””””’THE PLAYOFFS’ where mvp’s go home, wear their pajamas and watch somebodys greatness in tv.

  26. hranto says:

    lmao, ray allen isnt even a good defensive player… i m sorry but he has no chance of guarding kobe and they will be forced to put pierce on kobe… which meant artest will be posting up ray allen. The lakers are better at every position than the celtics except for pg, but thats all good, kobe can hold rondo and fisher can hold allen. So answer this, who guards kobe?

  27. SteveB says:

    Question: Why would the officiating be Gestapo like structured, where no one can say boo about them without a fine or worse? Why have something in place to recind fouls just in case, without any motive to just call the game properly?
    Why do we all too often see one sided officiating? Why can’t they (officials) be help accountable like every other job on the planet? WHY? My answer to that why is so that the NBA can have some control over the games..that is why.
    Is is too much to expect officials to call a game fairly, is it to much to ask for a structural change that would make officiating accountable? Perhaps Stern likes it the way it is so he can pull his strings, or maybe he just has no idea how to make officiating accountable..but clearly it needs fixing..Here we have the two best teams in the NBA in the finals, but theyre no way near 100% health because of all the physical abuse that went uncalled..wouldn’t it be so much better to see healthy teams play basketball using basketball talent? I truly hope it is “Defense wins championships” and not “Officiating wins championships” we shall see

  28. big fan of NBA says:

    just go to the fact that Lakers will win this one. because when they meet 2008 playoffs there is no andrew bynum, and the addition of ron artest for his muscle way in to the paint against pierce. It will be LA back to back championship.

  29. toshi says:

    GO LAKERS !!!!!!!!!!

  30. that doot says:

    u know he wasnt bout 2 let sac win in 02,or blazers in 01, or the pacers in 00. or the rockets in 07,or the suns now. all against the lakers….LA is a way more bigger maket than protland,indiana,pheonix,, and especially sacramento(that whole series was the worst officiated series ive ever seen)…and now ofcoarse he gets this celtics lakers rivaly again… recession or not..hes allways been about the money..it makes me now even wanna follow the nba knowing all the dirt and greed that goes down

  31. LakersIn6 says:

    If anyone thinks its rigged then I suggest you go watch every single game played. In addition, analyze each player on every team, their position and who they face throughout the year. For instance, Ron-Ron’s D > Peirce’s O. Bynum and Gasol > Rondo’s penetration (and when he kick’s, Ray Allen MAY hit a few 3’s, but not enough to matter ) and when he misses some, the Laker’s will fast break. Garnett = a jump shooter now ( exactly what Gasol wants )… Perkins just blows, especially with Bynum in his face. Kobe well… need I say more?

  32. Bulol says:

    @marlon if the refs manipulate the games then it is the Cav’s not Celtic’s in the final’s right now…the only thing i don’t like about the rules was the MAKE MY DAY thing it is not fair for the players and couches..they lose their freedom to speak out how they feels or think about the unfair calls of the ref’s…anyway i think this is just a repeat for the celtic’s they are now much tougher,stronger,more mature and better team than their 2008 line up..the lakers only upgraded a little in defense but they are now slower and bynum is not healthy enough to matchup the big guy’s of the celtic’s who has a dominant big guy’s…

  33. Charles Barkley says:

    Hey man, man, hey man, listen man, hey, Kobe Bryant, hey man, listen. Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA. BUT, he’s playing the CELTICS. I think I’ll go fishing with Kobe soon in Italy. :)

  34. 1-0 1-1 1-2 1-3 2-3 2-4 BOS says:

    Memorize this Lakers, so you won’t be crying in a couple of weeks. 2-4 MAX. Although I think it might go BOS in 5.

  35. Baller says:

    I want Kobe to go into the finals as many times as he can until he retires but frankly, i am sick of the lakers getting to the finals. i mean how about some other teams instead of boston, la, or orlando. cavaliers would be nice or hawks or bulls or suns

  36. JELLY BEAN says:

    C . BARLEY , FOR COMMISSIONER !!!! GO LAKERSSSSSSSSS

  37. Tim I... says:

    David Stern runs the NBA to his finest! I feel like out of all the major professional sports the NBA is kept to the highest standard and has the least amount of drama off the court and is always the top 2 for sports moments every year. I am a huge NFL fan and with all the personal conduct rules being violated, and with the MLB dealing with steroids so much, you realize how great the NBA is and has been run for the past couple of decades. Kobe Bryant is definitely the best player we have during our present time. Sure Lebron James is the most talented but Kobe Bryant is proven and continues to prove every year. This summer coming up also has the NBA at the top of the headlines from day to day dealing with all the free agent signings. 2010 summer has built up for the past 3 years and now it is finally here and teams that are willing and able to spend the money for top notch superstars will see success in the next 3-5 years. All this being said fans enjoy the Finals, I predict Lakers in 6. Also, enjoy the summer signings and all the off season fun to look forward to. Good luck to your teams this summer and the following season.

  38. Jason says:

    The refs in the N.B.A. are absolutely ruining the game. David Stern should be ashamed of himself, he should resign in my opinion. If it were up to me, I would put him in jail.

  39. joeymdr says:

    I dont know about you guys, but kobe has done it over and over again. Just ask Mr. Gentry and the rest of the guys who falls pray from the Black Mamba. kobe has the greatest will to win in his era. Nobody in the NBA whos more confident to take the ball with the last seconds left and the game is on the line….. ok maybe after jordan but just the same Kobe is great maybe at par with Mr. Jordan…. All of kobe’s batchmate in 96 batch has all gone into oblivion save Mr. Allen who contended being 3rd maybe 2nd peddle in the Celtic team. Come on guys admit the lakers is the most exciting team in the league not to mention the fans …… Its lakers by 5

  40. Vlad says:

    They should make a restriction. Anyone who complains to the refs about anything should get a technical because garnett by himself makes the game 30 minutes longer and kobe is probobly even worse not to mention pau ron ron and fish

  41. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE says:

    CELTICS IN 5 MAYBE 6. TOO MUCH DEPTH. BETTER AT EVERY SINGLE POSITION MAYBE EVEN IN SG BECAUSE OF KOBE BUT DA DEFENSIVE MITE BE TOO GOOD FOR KOBE. T.A, RAY ALLEN, PIERCE.

    • KobeDoinWork says:

      Celtics r better at SG???? dang thats probably the most stupid thing i have ever heard. Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league…no one on the Celtics can do half the things he can do so u r mistaken there buddy. Paul Pierce is gonna have a hard time against Ron Artest. he hasnt played against a great defender like Artest these whole playoffs. Gasol is gonna have to prove he’s not weak against KG but the only big mismatch there is is Rondo vs Fisher. Its gonna come down to how fisher handles Rondo and how Lamar Odom does coming off the bench.

  42. Anthony says:

    On some real, people STOP BLAMING THE REFS,STOP BLAMING STERN, he is a good COMMISSIONER Just face the FACT THAT THE LAKERS, AND CELTICS MADE IT BACK TO THE NBA FINALS FAIRLY. WATCH THE WAY THEY PLAYED, THE CELTICS BEATUP THE CAVS WHEN EVERYBODY EXPECTED THEM TO MAKE IT, AND THE LAKERS DEFENDED THERE TITLE ALL THE WAY, NOW THEY BACK IN THE NBA FINALS. THEY EARNED THERE RIGHT TO BE THERE. LAKERS-CELTICS HOW COULD YOU GET TIRED OF THAT RIVIALY. THERE IS NO BETTER RIVALRY THEN THE LAKERS-CELTICS. READ THE HISTORY AND EMBRACE THE GAME OF BASKETBALL. LAKERS-CELTICS EARNED THERE RIGHT TO BE WHERE THEY AT.

  43. SteveB says:

    Absolutely the 2 best teams are in the finals, BUT stern and the officiating have ulterior motives..absolutely..and so dont the tnt tv announcers as well. UNTIL the officials are held accountable, it will stay and get worse,
    How can you repay a team when a foul that cost a team a game is recinded? You can’t..so what does that say?
    Clearly points to officials control of the game, they can and determine outcomes of games when it is in the best interest ($$) of the nba.
    Butv when you see, all game long, a team getting favored, you don’t need to be told differently by announcers; as if to justify the officiating. Case in point: Howards hard foul on Rondo in last Celtics/Magic game, where rondo went out injured..did you notice how CAREFUL the announcers were to say “rondo’s fall” and not dare say anything about the foul? But in replay, how can u miss seeing howard throw him to the ground? I bet tv announcers are fined too; under a hush hush though, because if we knew they were it wouldn’t look to good now would it.
    For teams to get to the finals, they also have to beat the officiating; make the game unreachable from bad calls..and, they shouldnt have to. Close games are more fun to watch when theyre fair, but the great teams know they need blow outs to make it; to keep it out of the officials hands.
    MAKE OFFICIATING ACCOUNTABLE!!! AND IF A FOUL IS RECINDED MAKE IT VERY COSTLY FOR THE OFFICIALS!

    And Mr Stern, maybe you NEED to show the fans that you care about what they think, and that you care about the game being fair, because there are many who think the nba is a wwe spinoff, especially with the likes of dwight howards uncalled bullying.

    • mike says:

      I agree with you Howard was playing dirty slapping people in the face every chance he got. The game should be played hard but fair not dirty. I wanted someone to give Howard some of his own medicine…The officials do control the game and why dont Stern want anybody to crictize the officials; if he really thought the officials were doing such a good job,he would welcome the crictism to PROVE the critics wrong.

  44. BOSTON CELTICS says:

    Rondo MVP. Kobe back in the hideout in Italy…again. Ray Allen scoring 3 after 3 after 3 after 3. Gasol crying for fouls. Garnett crying for fouls. Artest missing one after the other. Paul Pierce making one after the other with his pants down (ask Artest why). Fisher too old. Bynum will fake a knee problem in game 1 and stop playing. Odom missing. Wallace 3’s, Robinson 3’s. It’s going to be a GREAT series. Boston in 5. Memorize this. BOSTON 5.

    • Barry says:

      See I like this comment. Even tho it’s totally wrong, it’s an opinion on the game, not a cry about the officials.
      Lakers in 6 btw, although if Rondo keeps up, I think he could end up being joint MVP with Kobe. Just a suspicion there.

    • The Walrus says:

      Sure man. As long as Pierce the Hollywood star is around. I bet neither team will win in 5. This series is going to at least 6 or 7.

    • You fail says:

      That doesn’t make any sense…

    • Fisher says:

      Does anyone else think that Fisher is a dirty player? He tries to play the two inch rule as hard as he can because he can’t do anything else. Okay he can hit that same 3 shot. For the most part he is the most unskilled point in the NBA. He’s a really bad passer, flops harder than anyone else. DRAWS CONTACT ALWAYS!! shouldn’t that be a foul on him!? Broke Nash’s nose after the game had already been lost for the Lakers. You could make a 45 min montage of him every season flopping crying to the officials. He exploits the bad NBA officiating more than any other player. I guess when every single guard you match up against is better than you, you have to start acting and playing dirty. Worst Point Guard in the NBA. Deron is the best

      • Rex says:

        Another idiot I guess… Dude Fisher is definitely one of the best in the NBA… He’s so clutch that LA more often than not gets a come back cause of him. as you said HE CAN DRAW CONTACT. It ain’t a foul against him idiot! it’s something everybody does! DUMBASS! He’s also the best at taking charges! not a lot of players are as good as he is at that! He ain’t at the top but Fisher is surely far from being the worst point in NBA!

    • Jason says:

      Oh so you can see into the furutre?? Lakers in 6

    • Darell says:

      Lakers in 6.. if this go down in five… Kobe will hang up… period.. Kobe will be inline with magic and bird and jordan in this series. Guaran “damn” teed it :D

  45. Mucha says:

    Please STFU Marion. So you’re saying that David Stern is the reason why the Lakers will play against the Celtics in the NBA Finals? David Stern didn’t draft Kobe Bryant in 1996. David Stern didn’t trade Kwame Brown and Marc Gasol’s rights for Pau Gasol. David Stern didn’t trade the 5th pick of the 2007 draft for Ray Allen. David Stern did not trade Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett. And the refs did not eliminate the Suns and the Magic, as a matter of fact the refs were mediocre on both sides during the Lakers-Suns and Celtics-Magic series.

    I despise NBA fans who always try to find a scapegoat because their team are not good enough to think about winning a championship. Blame your GM, not the Commissioner. And I’m far from being a Lakers/Celtics fan.

  46. LAL=) says:

    haha Marlon ur saying dat everytng is about money? are u kiding come on celtics and lakers both deserve being there come on bottom line lebron couldn’t make it nor any other caz they don’t play like this two teams, who play with the heart. this is no money dealing since u saw kG, kobe, bynum…..ect were all dealing with injuries but when you want smtg you go for it so stop saying stuff go see what you cud do for your team and lets see the best of the playoffs.

  47. niwdle says:

    you know what dude the NBA might generate even more money when the finals will be the face off of cavs vs lakers but it didn’t happen. don’t blame the refs. i think they did a great job and it wouldn’t be fair to the referees that their jobs are being questioned like the NBA is some kind of wrestling match that is scripted. it wouldn’t also be fair to the celtics team that they tried their best to get back to the finals. In the end the best two teams from each conference finally face off. This will be a great series. for the people in general I hope you let go of the Celtic/Lakers rivalry. this is a different generation of players we should see them as the best two teams fighting off for the championship.

  48. lewis says:

    Extremely disappointed in this old rivalry.
    It doesn’t encourage any new growth for the league’s smaller organizations fanbase

    Would you watch a sport where you knew your team wouldn’t be in the finals because it’s not one of the league’s marquee organizations? Over the past 2 years after moving from atlanta to cleveland and being exposed to all things lebron, i’ve become a die-hard basketball fan.

  49. Max says:

    I completely agree another commissioner would be great. David Stern tries to shut anyone up who says anything bad against officials. Lets face it, the officiating in the NBA is poor at best. They have managed to ruin so many important games. Instead of Stern owning up to this, he tries to shut anyone up who speaks out against him. Fortunately can’t fine fans so we can still say what needs to be said. Get someone who is actually interested in improving the league and not just trying to improve it’s image.

  50. Vlad says:

    I dont know about all that but with the economy the way it is the commish has to be a little money hungry since its in the best interest of the league. but i cant believe all the unneeded fines that he enforces i mean come on making the players suit up like their the CEO’s of mayjor companies what kinda ridiculousness is that even the season ticket holders dont come in with their work clothes. Im sorry but i think strern has made some great decisions in his time but now he is way too old fashioned. Giving players and coaches fines because they lost a mayjor game. if that is going to be the case then cacel all press conferences from this day forth or at least edit them. Jeez cmon stern the world is evolving and your not!

  51. iron mike says:

    marlon you are dumb, don’t even know what is going on behind the scenes but yet you want to talk on behalf of all fans, your not speaking on behalf of me. Stern is ok not great but ok, hes doing the best he can with what he has, the NBA is in a good place right now everyone is loving it, except for kids like you, let me copy and paste something you said in your comment. “I feel sorry for your grand kids that they have you to look up two.” first of all its one thing to attack him as an NBA commish but to say his grand kids don’t have anyone to look up to, that is just ridiculous your beef is with him not his family, how do you know who is grand kids look up to? and second you spelled two like the number so maybe instead of trippin about stern you should focus on your spelling and grammar. I am just saying…..

    • D says:

      I agree with you, but you have to work on your spelling and grammar as well. Instead of “his” grand kids, you put is.

  52. Chris says:

    I love how the only comment on this article is bashing the commissioner, Props, Marlon. Stern is a douche.

  53. chris morgan says:

    yes can we please get another commissioner please please pretty please enough is enough we all know once the celtics beat the supposed champs the cavs who had not one anything yet were done it was laker celtics i love the rivalry but the way the conference finals went was a tragedy laker and celtic was a sweep until the control refs got in the way mr. stern has made the game into the wwe so damn predictible and he needs to stop making lebron, kobe, into michael jordan let the players play and stop fining everybbody for any and everything he is more of a tyrant than a commissioner go lakers and enjoy the finals if the refs dont mess it up

  54. AC says:

    Marion you have got to be kidding me. The Ref’s in the NBA are very very good. Its all about human eye and quick judgment, basketball is a quick paced game and is very difficult to ref. David Stern is a great commisioner. the sport has turned into a show, and david is trying to bring it back to how it use to be played. there are too many characters in this sport and all the players want is money.

    you must be a money hungry fan to think that david stern is the NBA’s issue.

  55. Marlon says:

    can we get another commish. I mean lets face it David Stern likes the same ol thing year after year and he has the worst officals ever. I think he grooms his refs anyway b/c we all know its all bout money. We as fans getting a little tired of laker-celtics…Man go sit your old ass down and let somebody else run the NBA.. The NBA needs new leadership. I feel sorry for your grand kids that they have you to look up two. A money hungry commish. I can’t stand you and most of every other NBA fan feels the same.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      I feel as if we should get new Refs but it isn’t the same thing every year… Lakers and Celtics two years ago and before that it had been a while since those 2 matched up. Face it, they were the two best and most experienced and made it tothe top. As a TRUE NBA fan I am not disappointed at all.

    • Yeimy says:

      you are an idiot Marlon.

    • Mr. NoneedtobeAnonymous says:

      “Never leave it in the hands of the judge (referee).” I firmly believe this. It’s very difficult for a ref to decide a game when players are imposing their will on each other. Kobe going hard at Ray Allen is an anti-ref/ref-repellent scenario. When players don’t go 139% hard, refs can manipulate the game a lot easier. Get off David Stern’s gray hairs, players play the game, refs ref the game, coaches coach the game, commentators call the game, fans watch the game. Watch the game man!!!! If you a critic, criticize on your couch, stop sharing those conspiracy opinions with the world.

      • mike says:

        The refs do stink and often act like they are officiating the game according to the point spread…. thats just my opinion and we as fans are entitled to have one. The game as Charles Barkley said….the game is Sacred and should be officiated fairly bare none. How many times have you seen the star player being taken out of the game because he’s the only player on the whole court with two fouls in the first qtr? Control….. the refs control the game period, and you better beleive that Tim Donnely was’nt the only ref out there making money on the side.

    • Barry says:

      David Stern already saved the NBA back in the 80s when it was floundering. He recognised what he had with Magic and Larry and he turned an almost dying sport back into a global phenomenom. Without it, think how many people who work in or around the NBA, including basketball sports writers would not have jobs. Then think about how many amazing things would never have been seen. The man listens to players, and what the players want, not what crying whiners like you want. And I don’t know him personally, but professionally, he’s done a damn fine job. So how about not insulting him personally when you’re crying about how he runs his job?
      The officials have the hardest job ever, no-one feels they are doing everything right, but they’re calling it as they see it. And the Finals are Lakers and Celtics simply because they were the best two teams. Only a moron like yourself thinks they were fixed. Jackass.

      • NR says:

        Well Barry, Your the Jackass, If you can’t tell when the Ref’s are cheating for Boston, only a moron like you can’t see that the Lakers are getting fouled left and right and time and again they fail to call the fouls but only let the Lakers just tap a boston player and the ref’s will blow their hot whistle in a hot second and it’s just not the playoffs, they have been doing this to the Lakers and a few other west cost teams for years now. It seems that Stern has it set up that way because he just can’t stand the Lakers. there should be a petition started to have Stern removed from his position and bring in someone that can control the officiating in a fair and honest and just manner because Stern sure in the hell isn’t doing the job. But knowing that you are probably from the East Coast you more than likely won’t agree, because your a moron just like Stern.

    • Candid says:

      In all honesy, I think the biggest finals match-up will be Cavs (with LBJ) versus Lakers. It will put the 2 biggest NBA stars on the biggest basketball platform. It will signify the passing of the torch – unquestionably – from Kobe to Lebron. Nike will be more than pleased with this finals scenario but, as you can clearly see, the finals is not the NBA’s wetdream match up of the 2 biggest stars. What it is however, is a match-up of the two best teams in the league. The cavs are still a one dimensional team (LBJ) while the celtics are one of the most balanced teams in the eastern conference. Before 2008, the lakers and celtics hadn’t met in the finals in about two decades!! It is unfair to assume the league is rigged because we have a repeat of the 2008 finals. Both teams worked hard for this, both teams played hard for this and you, as a fan, should appreciate the players’ hard work. I think you and many others have a very myopic view of the league and, probably sports in general. Your team is not always going to be on top, your favorite players won’t always be the best, the calls won’t always go your way but, guess what, such is life buddy. Such is life. Toughen up, wipe your tears and grow a pair, there is always a next season (thanks in part to Stern for saving a failing league). Once again, such is life so toughen up and welcome to the world… and the 2010 NBA finals.

    • wowie says:

      I don’t think the commish has anything to do with what team makes it to the finals! I know that the NBA is a multimillion dollar industry but i don’t think its got something to do with the performance of each team. The refs are part of the game and sometimes the refs see the fouls and sometimes they don’t, let the players decide for their team, if they can’t win, they shouldn’t blame the refs! Anyway, the Lakers were great in the defensive end in game 1. Celtics, elevate your game! You lack the intensity!