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Commissioner David Stern the biggest loser in the NBA lockout

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY — NBA commissioner David Stern was once considered the best commissioner in sports, but because of the NBA lockout he now has to be considered the worst.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 1, 2011

The NBA season was scheduled to start Tuesday night, including a game of some interest in these parts: Thunder at Lakers.

Oklahoma eyeballs would have been glued to TNT, watching Durant and Westbrook go against Kobe and Gasol.

Jack Nicholson sitting courtside. Charles Barkley commenting. Kendrick Perkins scowling. Ron Artest introduced as Metta World Peace.

Instead, we did other things. Caught up on work. Visited our mothers. Did laundry. Watched “The Biggest Loser.”

Speaking of which, I don't know if the owners will win in this NBA lockout, but I assume they will.

I don't know if the players will lose in this NBA lockout, but I assume they will.

But I already know who is the biggest loser in this NBA lockout.

David Stern.

Once considered the best commissioner in sport, by what gauge would he now not be considered the worst?

His game is dark, with its second work stoppage in the last 13 years.

Baseball hasn't missed a game since 1995. The NFL hasn't missed a game since 1987. But here comes the NBA with another lockout to go with the dispute that reduced the 1998-99 season to 50 regular-season games.

Sorry, that dubious distinction falls squarely on Stern.

A commissioner's primary job is to protect the owners' interests. And that's where Stern has failed. He has led us to this. Empty arenas. Blank television sets. His greatest stars playing exhibition games in high school gyms or flag football with the Sigma Nus in Stillwater.

Stern now has trumped baseball commish Bud Selig, a punching bag for his sport's multiple problems over the last two decades. Stern's up 2-1 on Selig in work stoppages, and Selig wasn't even officially commissioner during the 1994 baseball strike, though that blood is on his hands.

We've heard for almost three decades of Stern's value to the NBA. How he sheparded it from a backward, sleepy enterprise to the cutting-edge entertainment that now grips humanity from Broken Bow to Beijing. And that's all true.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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