…he’ll get cracking on his Gene Upshaw impersonation. That’s (sort of) the advice dolled out by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, whose withering assessment of the NBA lockout (“there’s nothing to negotiate, nothing to discuss…the NBA commissioner has made sure of it. David Stern promised a new crop of owners that should they buy into the NBA, he’d give them the most one-sided labor deal in the history of sports,”) strongly suggests Players Association president Derek Fisher (above, middle) is surely aware of “the dirty little secret of that job. Play ball with Stern in labor talks, and history shows the league will take care of you.”
Bob Lanier has been on scholarship as an NBA ambassador for two decades. Isiah Thomas was given part ownership and the general manager’s job with the expansion Toronto Raptors. When that imploded, Thomas landed a league-sanctioned analyst’s job for NBC. Lanier and Thomas were smart and tough in processes, but Stern’s message is hard to miss. Eventually, you’ll all work for us again.
After retiring with the Detroit Pistons, Michael Curry scored a job as the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations. Antonio Davis has an NBA television job. In labor talks, they were considered the enemy, but the underlying message for everyone in that job is unmistakable. Don’t push Stern too hard, don’t go nuclear. It goes on and on.
So, yes, everyone waits on Fisher now. He has big aspirations post-basketball, big possibilities. Stern knows it, too. It’s no accident that Stern’s deputy, Adam Silver, fawns over Fisher in stories. Oh, it’s so great to have him across the negotiating table. Yes, that’s just what the union rank and file should want to hear.