David Stern, about to say something funny. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
As he moves closer to retiring from the throne of NBA Commissioner, it feels that, at times, David Stern now just sort of lets things slide a little more. The quotes we're used to hearing from Stern -- the perfectly crafted, not-a-word-out-of-place statements that fire directly towards the intended target, no matter how small or tough it may look to hit that bullseye -- now sometimes have the feel of a guy thinking, "Ah, what the hell, I'm the gosh darn Commish and I just don't feel like cleaning this up for you."
It happened in a big way earlier this week, as Stern couldn't stop himself from firing the ol' "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" shot at Jim Rome on his radio show when responding to questions about the always mysterious and conspiracy-theory-ready NBA draft lottery. And also, in a much smaller and much, much less volatile way, Stern also commented on the Memphis Grizzlies' sale to Robert Pera.
He did so with what is becoming a more usual-than-not frankness, that, for Commissioner Stern, can come off with a hint of "I really don't give a shit" spliced in with his years of well-groomed media-speak.
Those quotes, all via Kyle Veazey at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, after the jump.
This one from Veazey's story above is probably my favorite:
Commissioner David Stern said the NBA is preparing to go through the "somewhat boring" process of gathering facts to determine whether the board of governors should approve the sale of the Grizzlies to Californian Robert Pera.
David Stern really wishes people would stop selling teams so he wouldn't have to be so BORED all the time. Come on, you guys. He also went on to list what he knew of Pera from the briefing someone probably just whispered into his ear ten minutes ago.
"[Pera] has been a successful entrepreneur and he has a few dollars, a few hundred million dollars, whatever the number is, and I have heard that he's a huge fan."
A few dollar bills lying around and he likes basketball? Well shoot, that sounds good enough to me!
Stern also applauded Michael Heisley for keeping the Grizz in Memphis and hoped that Pera, with a "great building" and "really good team," would do the same.
All in all, it was the standard new ownership lingo that we've heard before from Stern, with a few entertaining slips of the guard that are becoming more and more customary as the Commish hits his twilight. I don't think Pera and the Grizzlies are going to have much trouble getting this sale approved.