You're not missing anything, believe me. I've looked into it. There's a gas shortage and A Flock of Seagulls. That's about it. - Austin Powers, 1999
The David Stern era in basketball coincided with the biggest boom the sport ever saw. His direct role in the financial and popularity rise in the sport is arguable, but maybe only in the way one might argue over who the greatest quarterback ever is. You know their all great, but who would be the top dog is the argument.
But what interaction did David Stern have with the Atlanta Hawks?
I looked back through the time portal and remembered these moments:
First, no journey through the 80's is complete without remembering one of more famous athletes to wear an Atlanta Hawks jersey. Stern commented on that player in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1989.
The Human Highlight Film, you may ask? Oh, no, someone much more important than that.
No, they wanted to talk about Jon Koncak, who has become basketball`s version of the wild pitch. At least that`s what everyone felt the Detroit Pistons uncorked this summer when they offered the Atlanta Hawks` backup center a $2.5 million, one-year contract.
Had Koncak signed, this season he would have earned as much as Michael Jordan, who signed an eight-year deal a year ago.
``He just took advantage of the system. He was in the right place at the right time,`` said NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Ah, yes, memories.
Next, we fast forward through the sleepy Mookie-Smitty-Mutombo-Lenny years and land after the opening of Philips Arena, when the All-Star game was heading to Atlanta in 2003 and the Hawks were set to be sold by Time Warner to the Atlanta Spirit Group.
Things went south soon after that sale, as the primary owners of the team had differing views on how best to run the team, culminating in the infamous Joe Johnson deal in 2005, which sparked a lawsuit, an infamous diss by Billy Knight and the commish having to pick sides.
NBA commissioner David Stern submitted an affidavit Thursday supporting the efforts by the majority of the Atlanta Hawks owners to remove Steve Belkin as the team's NBA governor.
The majority of the Atlanta Spirit LLC group has requested that Belkin be replaced with Michael Gearon Jr., as NBA governor, the member of the group who must sign off on all trades.
The effort to remove Belkin, who owns 30 percent of the team, followed his refusal to approve the team's attempted sign-and-trade for guard Joe Johnson of the Phoenix Suns.
Good times, good times.
Stern would come through Philips Arena occasionally, like when the Hawks retired Ted Turner's....um, Hawks-ness? But he would later have to ride through the ATL to bolster public confidence in the much-derided ownership group after they failed in their attempt to unload the Hawks (after parsing the Thrashers from Atlanta) to businessman Alex Meruelo in 2011.
From the Times-Herald.com (linked above) regarding the commitment of the ownership group after the failed sale:
"They're committed to paying the luxury tax, which not many teams in our league do these days, or try not to do," Stern said. "And they're committed to hiring the personnel needed to show the fans this is a franchise worth supporting. "I think they're committed to Atlanta and I'm committed to them."
The ASG proved Stern prophetic when they hired Danny Ferry to come aboard and let him change almost everything about the Atlanta Hawks as a result.
Oh, I am sure Stern also changed planes in Atlanta a few times along the way, too, but really, when you think about Stern and the city of Atlanta, one might get the feeling of this group of weary followers below (see clip below) as well, but I can't help but enjoy the frankness and leadership of the Commish, as well as appreciate the national popularity of the sport that Stern has presided over and, by relationship, the Atlanta Hawks. Thanks, Commish. Enjoy your sunny retirement.
But, for those who don't necessarily subscribe to that opinion, here's a group you might relate to:
- Hawks vs 76ers preview: Atlanta escapes the storm to face-off with Philadelphia
- Hawks React to Millsap's All-Star Selection
- Paul Millsap Named an All-Star Reserve
- Jeff Teague Returns to Practice, Is Day-to-Day
- Draft Profile 2014: NBA Mock Draft Target Jerami Grant
- Hawks vs. Pistons Rescheduled for April 8
- Pero Antic Makes Rising Stars Challenge, Mike Scott does not