Every move we make has repercussions, some great and others small. If you decide to dart out and run across an Interstate freeway during rush-hour, odds are pretty high that you will get hit by a vehicle. If there is an unlocked door to the lion’s cage at the zoo and you decide to join a hungry, massive, carnivorous feline in his home, there is a good chance that you will soon become lunch. If you happen to be the veteran host of a syndicated radio sports-talk show and challenge the Commissioner of the NBA about the legitimacy of the Association’s Draft Lottery, he will turn feral and attack you and your credibility.
According to a report from “ESPN.com,” Rome dig question Association Commissioner David Stern about the NBA Lottery Wednesday sanctity, when Stern appeared as a guest on his syndicated radio show. The talk show host asked the Commissioner “I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, was the fix in for the lottery?”
Stern replied “I have two answers for that. The simple easy one, no; the second, a statement, shame on you for asking.”
The talk show host tried to defend his question as legitimate as his audience has doubts about the process, however Stern told the radio personality that the question was “ridiculous”. Rome still tried to defend the query and this time the Commissioner replied “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
Although the Commissioner of the Association is well aware that the longtime radio host has never beaten his spouse, he was trying to make a point; that some questions will tarnish the subject of the interview, even when the questions lacks any validity. Rome, is well aware of that there is a sizable segment of sports fans in this country that do believe the Lottery is “rigged” and by asking Stern the question, he was pandering to them while at the same time guaranteeing jammed phone-lines for the rest of the week.
There are many things about Rome that you can criticize, however he is by no means a stupid man. He realized that questions about the process being valid, since the New York Knicks won the first Draft Lottery in 1985, choosing center Patrick Ewing with the pick. In an era before sports-talk radio stations, or the Internet, theories of the Knicks envelope’s corner being bent, or stored in a freezer to make it stand out from the others, swept the nation.
Any person out there that still seriously believes that the Association tampers with the NBA Draft Lottery, should just remember five words; Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs. The Boston Celtics, one of the flagship teams in the Association, had a terrible season heading into the 1997 NBA Draft and they had the greatest chance to receive the number one pick.
If the NBA had fixed the Draft Lottery, Duncan would have just completed season number 15 as a member of the Celtics, instead of the small-market Spurs. Boston always generated great TV ratings, when the team had success, if there was ever a time that the Association controlled the process, the Celtics would have a lot more banners hanging in the rafters of the “New Garden“.
A few minutes later in the interview, Rome asked Stern if he would hold the question against him; to which the Commissioner replied “I wouldn’t hold it against you. You and I have been in more contentious talks than that. But it’s good copy. You do these things for cheap thrills.”
When the talk show host took offense to Stern’s response, the Commissioner changed his phrasing. He told Rome “Cheap trick. You’ve been successful in making a career of it, and I keep coming on.”
Stern called Rome out and of course the talk show host got defensive telling his guest, that to be labeled that way offended him. The call would end a short time later, as the host was apparently thrown off his game by the Commissioner hitting the media veteran where he lives. The talk show host has nobody to blame for Stern’s reaction but himself, those that live by the sword shall die by the sword.
Rome’s fans that he calls the “Clones” will come to his defense over the next few days; making him look like a martyred-hero to his audience. However, it is a hit to his credibility; not only to other members of the media, but sports fans who are looking for truly intelligent conversation when they turn on a sports talk station.