If I am NBA Commissioner David Stern, I'm in a bar right now, working on my twelfth martini of the afternoon, wondering how to get out of my job before I start showing up at games at halftime and dance the watusi with the LA Laker Girls.
Dave's day plunked right under the little black rain cloud when news came down that five members of the Indiana Pacers have had charges filed against them for their part in the brawl in Detroit on November 19. Everybody has heard about the fight, so I won't rehash the details again here, though I will say that along with the players, seven fans have been charged, and it's about time.
Mr. Stern knew this was coming. Though not unexpected, I'm sure this announcement reminded him that he has a big problem with thugs in his league. They have taken over.
If it didn't, then he probably finished off that bottle of Crown Royal he has under his desk when he read the detailed account of Carmelo Anthony's appearance in a street DVD entitled "Stop Snitching" that warns the residents of some neighborhoods in Baltimore that "snitches" can get killed. My favorite part of the article:
In the scene involving Carmelo Anthony, the basketball player refers to Black (alleged snitch) and laughingly says that he might put some "money on his [expletive] brains."
Carmelo Anthony is 19, left Syracuse University for the NBA after one year, plays for the Denver Nuggets and now makes millions of dollars a year. Plus, he gives back to the community! What better way to appeal to your fan base than implicitly endorse the practice of witness intimidation? The only thing better would be to get busted in an airport on a marijuana possession, then try to blame it on a friend stashing it in your carry on lug...oh, wait, scratch that. Melo's crossed that one of his list as well.
Um, I hope that wasn't considered a snitch.
"Can I refill your glass Mr. Stern? What are you drinking again? I think you're mistaken, sir. I don't have any Everclear behind the bar..."
And that brings us to the Joker to David Sterns's Batman: Latrell Spreewell. LS has made a name for himself soooo many times over the years that you'd think he had tried to choke a coach to death a lot longer than a few years ago. Earlier this year it was well publicized that Spreewell felt insulted that his team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, weren't offering him a contract extension that bettered the salary of fourteen million (I need to pause here so I don't hyperventilate) that he is beng paid this season. When asked why he needed a higher paying contract, Spreewell answered "I've got a family to feed." Upon hearing this, I did a little research and discovered that Latrell Spreewell has 2, 381 kids, and they all eat lobster and caviar three times a day. Since then I have made it my day's work to place and maintain thousands of jars on convenience store counters all over the country. It will indeed be a Merry Christmas in the Spreewell home (or should I say township?) this year. Can't wait to see the look on his face.
Ah, but this is not even the reason why Stern is currently begging a bartender somewhere on the Lower East side for just one more Pina Colada. It seems Latrell was a little more spunky than usual this weekend in LA when the Timberwolves played the Clippers. I had heard that Spree made a vulgar comment to a woman in the stands, but was unable to get an account of what exactly happened until I came across this great piece on it by Bill Simmons of ESPN.
Clearly, a man making a measly fourteen mill can't be expected to tune out the hecklers that make grown men cry in LA. Have you ever been to a sporting event in LA? I'm telling you, they are ruthless there. Completely over the top. I once saw a mob storm the field at a Dodger game and accost a batter who just left the winning run at third by striking out in the ninth. They fitted him with a pair of cement shoes, carried him into the clubhouse, and dropped him into the jacuzzi. Vicious. And I can't talk about the part with Rip Taylor and Rula Lenska.
Spree's punishment for his obscene responses to the fans in LA was a one game suspension, and I'm sure he spent that day shrouded in darkness, deeply in prayer so that he may be a wiser man in the future. Don't get me wrong, fans who berate players at sporting events are generally idiots, but when an athlete, particularly an NBA player, gets tired of it, why don't they just pass out copies of their bank statements? I know once I saw concrete proof that Rex Helzadorman just made three times what I will make in my lifetime just for missing that last free throw, that I'd shut the hell up.
So about now David Stern is in a cab, on his way home, with a blood alcohol content of .17; when he wakes up tomorrow it'll be a nice day for a second, until his headache kicks in.
It's not the hangover. That'll go away eventually. His thug-over is going to be around for a while.