(the Commish, shown with the totally polished, NBA-ready finished product Yaroslev Korolev)
Grim words from NBA Commissioner David Stern, as quoted by ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan.
“There is something totally wrong with the development system for young basketball players,” Stern said Friday at his annual NBA Finals news conference. “It historically has not been the place for professional leagues to do [something about] it, but on the basis of the consistent failures of everyone else to do it, we are at least thinking about it, and we’ll be getting some dialogue with some interested parties to see if there’s something that can be done here.
“The roster of NBA teams is going to be enriched by huge numbers of international players, and it’s going to happen,” Stern said. “But I also believe that the production of American players and their development is going to go through a renaissance. If we have to fuel it ourselves, OK. Maybe we’re viewing it as our obligation to become involved in something we never wanted to touch because it was both unpleasant and possibly deleterious to their academic health, but we’re talking about it internally.”
Replies Charles Star,
If what David Stern says is true, how come the foreigners can’t defend worth shit either? (NB: Ginobili’s flopping is a mark against World Basketball.)
It seems a little weird that on the heels of taking steps to prevent younger players from turning pro, the NBA’s existing U.S. farm system (high schools, colleges, etc.) is being compared unfavorably to the sort of training on offer from professional clubs around the world. Perhaps the most efficient entry-point for an aspiring 17 or 18 year old American isn’t Division One basketball nor the NBDL, but toiling as a professional in Europe?
I don’t actually believe that’s the case, but I do wonder if Stern’s objections have more to do with stylistic prejudice rather than a researched conclusion that domestic players are poorly groomed in every aspect of the game. There’s a perception, fair or not, that high-scoring, fast-break basketball is attractive, fun, an easier TV sell, etc., compared to the old school, Eastern Conference, elbows/shoulders/fists game.
Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomasen pays tribute to Dallas’ Owner With A Boner :
The secret of Cuban’s success has little to do with the high-tech toys in the locker room, his high-profile blogs or the multimillion fines he pays to the league office. His team wins because when it comes down to his relationships with players, he’s as old-school as Red Auerbach.
Given Red’s poor health of late, I’m certain he’ll take great comfort in such a comparison.