For the span of my lifetime there has been one NBA Commissioner, he reminded me of my high school English teacher. David Stern appeared nice, and welcoming, but had shark-like aggressiveness when it came to shaping the NBA. Adam Silver, the incoming commissioner of the National Basketball Association, began his Tuesday morning interview at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit with a gentle dig at his legendary predecessor. Asked how the league would be different once he took over for David Stern, he quipped:
“I didn’t yell at you for asking that question.”
Silver, who’s been with the NBA for 21 years, including serving as deputy commissioner since 2006. At the NBA draft in New York every year, it became tradition for fans to boo Stern when he took the stage at the start and then cheer when Silver took over to announce the second-round picks.
Silver also brings a softer approach to his most important constituents—the NBA’s 30 team owners. Where Stern has handed out more than $1.8 million in fines to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban over the last 13 years, Silver name-checked him today as part of a new generation of more active, savvy ownership. “It’s a different time,” he said. “Owners are more sophisticated about the business of sports than they were years ago.” As franchise values have climbed, Silver said, owners have focused more on day-to-day operations. “Frankly,” he added, “I’m very fortunate to have this incredible array of expertise that I can rely on.”
Silver has reason to be cheerful. He inherits a league on the brink of what’s sure to be a massively lucrative new contract for media rights.
“Things are terrific. I have no complaints,” he told Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick of the pending TV deals. “When things are going good, it often makes sense to lock in that prosperity.”
Of course everything about being commish won’t be all sunny.
In an interview with the New York Post, Adam Silver said that the league is pushing forward with efforts to include tests for Human Growth Hormone next season and most notably that the NBA has not been notified of any player in connection with the Biogenesis case.
One of the changes that we know we’ll be making to our current drug testing is the addition of HGH testing, which requires taking blood from the players,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told The Post last week. “We want to make sure, on behalf of our players, as well, that’s it’s done in the proper way, and that we understand what are the appropriate baselines for a natural substance, like HGH, so we can detect where there are aberrations. That is something we’re very focused on.”
Silver said while the NBA has been monitoring the Biogenesis case as it has developed over the past several months, the league isn’t aware of any involvement of its players with the clinic, contrary to a recent report.
“We’ve been actively working to understand the situation and to the extent possible to learn what is being uncovered by MLB’s investigation,” Silver said. “We are not aware of any involvement by NBA players.”
Silver began working for the NBA in 1992. Before assuming his current role, Silver held the positions of special assistant to the commissioner, NBA chief of staff, senior vice president of NBA Entertainment, and president of NBA Entertainment. Silver was an executive producer of the IMAX movie Michael Jordan to the Max, as well as the TNT documentary Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray? He also worked on the production side of Like Mike and Year of the Yao.