(above : the good old days!)

Though I suspect Derek Fisher’s one-game suspension holds greater significance for the LA Times’ Mark Heisler than say, Rafer Alston being banned for a night after slapping Eddie House, the columnist decries the Associations “insufferable judicial system that’s out of control” just the same. Here’s a few choice excerpts from Heilser’s open letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern :

Not that you can assume too much while Ron Artest is active, but the fighting you set out to get rid of ended long ago. Nevertheless, the system you put in place is still voracious, and capable of devouring itself.

how about letting them serve their suspensions next season, so you can play your games and we can still have our playoffs?

How hard is that? I don’t make $8 million a year, and no one ever mentioned me as a senatorial candidate.

Without any fights this spring, you’ve already suspended Fisher, Dwight Howard, Rafer Alston and Udonis Haslem, and the second round just started.

Have you legal eagles noticed that you keep defining the crimes down?

First it was fighting. Then a two-handed shove was a fight. Then you could get suspended for taking one step off the bench if two players were just upset with each other — as Stoudemire was, after Robert Horry’s hard foul on Steve Nash.

Now Bryant hitting Artest with a one-inch elbow as they wrestle for position under the hoop is a flagrant foul?

With that as a standard, you would have suspended Kevin McHale for life for clotheslining Kurt Rambis in the 1984 Finals if you had been commissioner.

Oh, I forgot, you were commissioner. McHale got a personal foul, but no technical, no fine and no suspension.

I miss those days. No, I’m serious. I’ll bet even Rambis misses those days.