David Stern was in a couple of headlines earlier this month following a controversial radio appearance he made with Jim Rome. Like, one or two.
If you were hiding underneath a clown wig at the time, a summary is here. After being questioned about the draft lottery process, Stern first said “shame on you for asking,” then asked Rome “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” He was trying to demonstrate that there’s no good answer to a ridiculous question. Odd way of doing it.
Of course, Stern got pummeled for his performance. And he later backtracked on that answer during an appearance on Mike Wise’s 106.7 The Fan radio show.
Wise first asked Stern whether he could understand the skeptical public perceptions that go along with with a formerly league-owned team winning the lottery.
“Of course,” the commissioner answered. “And the problem is, given the members of the media — and this is not anti-media, this is just reality — if Brooklyn had won it they’d say you see, David’s taking care of whatever. If the [Bobcats] had won it, people would say ah, he promised Michael Jordan when he became an owner they’d do this.
“I understand what’s happening. My only objection at the time was, your question phrases it in a certain way. But if you said to me directly is the lottery fixed, you would be implying that you believed it was fixed. Because you don’t need to make it part of the question. And so I sort of reacted, maybe overreacted. So I understand that. But a guy’s allowed to have some fun.”
So Wise asked Stern if he had any Rome regrets.
“You know, I would do it again differently if I were asked the question,” Stern said. “What can I tell you? I’m like LeBron. You get a day older, and you hope you get wiser rather than just older.”
More from Stern with Wise, with audio below:
On the years of bad Wizards teams: “Well, you know, it’s disappointing, because I think that Ted Leonsis has tried so hard to be a picture-perfect owner. He has engaged the fans through social media, he has entrusted the running of the team to professionals in whom he has confidence, and he has been dealt a few bad cards from the deck in terms of getting it all done. But I think it’s now time to say okay, is it another year, is it another two? I think we’re gonna see some improvement in the competitive position of Washington. . . . We’ve had some improve more than the Wizards have, but I think the time is coming. I wouldn’t give up my season tickets to Washington too fast, because I think that good times are ahead.”
On LeBron as villain: “The over-arching reaction to [The Decision] really went off the rails. He’s not polarizing. He’s actually a very nice young man. He’s very dedicated to his craft. . . . I think he’s not only a superstar, but he’s a genuinely good person, and it’s time to get off that particular bandwagon. . . . When you’re as gifted as he is, anything short of miracles somehow subjects you to a fair amount of negative comments.”
On being introduced with Darth Vader’s music: “Was that just for me? I thought that was reflective of your show.”
On NBA flopping: “I’m looking for a happy medium. I agree with Pat [Riley]. I think we should not take the charge out of the game. It’s an important call. What we should take out of the game is players pretending to be knocked over when somebody nicks their hair strand. We’re gonna have to find a way to get to that. That’s all. We’ll do it. We are going to cut down on the number of flops. Exactly how we get to it, is, I think, a difficult task. But what we don’t want to do is impose too much of a burden on the ref. The ref sees it, he calls it as a charge. If he thinks it’s a flop, he doesn’t call the foul. But we can’t impose on the referee the obligation to say ok, you flopped, I’m gonna do something to you. It has to be a review after the fact.”
On retirement: “All I’m saying is between now and six [years from now]. I won’t be here in six years for sure, and it could be a lot sooner. I just don’t know. Haven’t made the decision yet. As I said to Michael Wilbon, the owners are gonna be the first ones to know. I’m not gonna break it on Mike Wise’s Show.”