And when we say heavy hitters, we mean the heaviest of hitters in the realm of basketball and beyond. No, we didn’t corral Jeremy Lin yet and Kobe Bryant didn’t return our call either. But we’ve got the next best thing.
NBA Commissioner David Stern joined us for a visit, dropping in on us after sitting down for an afternoon interview with TNT’s David Aldridge at the league’s New York offices, and didn’t disappoint. Stern dished on the Lin phenomenon, his thoughts on the upcoming All-Star Weekend, why it he doesn’t have a problem with rewarding veteran stars come All-Star bid time, how the league has thrived in the wake of the lockout and so much more.
Following the Commissioner (never an easy thing to do), we rapped with former Harvard co-captain, Academic All-American and pro basketball player, and current U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who took time out of his busy schedule to talk about his Harvard connection with Lin, his Chicago Bulls and his unique ties to both the team’s coach (Tom Thibodeau) and its biggest star (Derrick Rose). He also shared what it’s like playing ball with President Barack Obama in those famous White House pick up games (we’re ready whenever you need us Reggie Love) and so much more.
Check out all of that and so much more on Episode 70 of the Hang Time Podcast … The All-Star Special:
As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.
Some highlights of what Stern had to say to DA after the jump.
Stern on the Hornets: The league has a single frontrunner candidate to buy the New Orleans Hornets, with a second prospective owner standing by. He expects the sale terms with the frontrunner to be completed in the next couple of weeks, but the sale can’t be completed until the Louisiana state legislature approves state funding that will be part of the deal. The new owner will not have an out clause to move the Hornets during the length of the lease he/she signs with the state.
Stern on Jeremy Lin: He’s happy that the Lin phenomenon advanced discussions about stereotypes, saying it was similar to the discussions among fans and media in the 1970s, when some perceived the league was “too black.” He would not however name Lin as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game Sunday (the Commissioner names replacements in case of injury).
Stern on star players: Stern reiterated that he has no problem with star players leaving once their contracts expire. He also said he didn’t think All-Star Weekend would be hijacked by Dwight Howard trade talk.
Stern on player injuries: He doesn’t think the injuries suffered so far by star players are because of the compressed schedule, and doesn’t have a problem with coaches/teams holding out star players for maintenance reasons.
Stern on Sacramento: He hopes Sacramento will approve the arena plan by the March 1 NBA deadline. And if not? “We’ll see.” He said AEG will make a substantial contribution to the new arena that will help offset the amount needed by the Maloof Family.
Stern on Seattle: It was not imperative for cities like Seattle looking for a team to build an arena: “it’s not ‘build it and they will come.’” He also reiterated that he would not recommend expansion for cities without teams.
Stern on his future: He reiterated he did not expect to remain on as commissioner by the time the current CBA can be reopened in six years.