Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DOH-mer OF The Week- David Stern

One thing that really irks me is contradiction. It’s one thing to say or do something with a span between the contradicting acts, but when the acts are simultaneous, there is no escaping the DOHmer tag. In the past week, the NBA has hit me with headlines about a proposal, while also feeding me images that are a direct opposite of their plans. While seeing the images, and remembering their words, I couldn’t make any sense of it. Let’s see if you can.

David Stern is one of the best commissioners in all sports. Often, what he says is sensible. I have no problem with his dress code or length of player suspensions for violating rules. The problem I have is his new proposal to raise the mandatory age limit for players entering the NBA from 19 to 20 years old. He may have an issue with maturity, and attempt to halt the influx of high school players making a direct jump, but seriously, if that’s the case, stop rolling tape.

The proposal was dropped on the public at a very bad time. Here you are trying to stop youngsters from leaping, while at the same time advertising kids that leaped. That’s right, the announcement came with the NBA season winding down, and playoff commercials beginning. You watch those commercials, and you’ll see several stars leading their teams into the postseason. And if you take a good look, many of them entered the NBA before their 20th birthday.

Here, allow me to shine some light on it:

Leapers straight from High School

Celtics- Kevin Garnett
Magic- Dwight Howard
Cavs- LeBron James
Lakers- Kobe Bryant
Rockets- Tracy McGrady
Suns- Amare Stoudemire

One year college experience

Raptors- Chris Bosh
Nuggets- Carmelo Anthony

It should also be noted that foreign born, Tony Parker, turned down scholarship offers from both UCLA and Georgia Tech, and entered the NBA as a 19 year old, after playing professionally in France since age 17. Parker was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP.

Some of the same listed youth made up half the starting line up for the NBA All-Star Game. Dwight Howard is your NBA slam dunk champion. Some of them will go on to represent the United States in the Olympic games. These faces are the marketing tools being used to sell the NBA, while also representing what Stern seeks to disallow in the league. Does it make any sense?

I’m not sure what the NBA's issue is with young players entering early . Sure, you get some flops, like a Sebastian Telfair, but are you seriously going to tell me no 20 year olds have ever entered the league and flopped? Is it really a question of maturity? Ron Artest played 2 years of college, and Dennis Rodman played 4. They both represent two of the most immature players I’ve ever seen take steps on the hardwood.

As much as I like David Stern, this week he is a DOHmer, for his clear contradiction in proposed player restrictions and marketing. So let’s all enjoy the playoffs, and enjoy the current stars, and hope we don’t get any more like them, until they are at least 20 years of age.

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