â†µAnyone who thinks Stern has lost a step, gotten clumsy about â†µrigging the league or sold out to Republicans and the Chinese just â†µdoesn't get it. Well, they sort of get it. He makes a point of trying â†µto reach every plausible demographic, even the ones that require â†µsomething of a stretch, and even when that means seemingly ignoring â†µthe league's base. â†µ
â†µAt the same time, he's never seemed interested in just banking the â†µfuture on China or small red state markets like OKC. Nor is he dumb â†µenough to not have recently â†µtold Seattle they could have a team some time soon. The dress â†µcode and zero tolerance? Those have now been transformed by time into â†µfar less draconian policies. And now, here we get the very staged â†µappearance of Stern in an African-American barbershop, communing with â†µthe fans that he could easily afford to take for granted, and never â†µattempting to moralize, invalidate their opinions or otherwise â†µdismiss them. He even jokes about Finals conspiracies. â†µ
â†µStern isn't just the consummate moderate. He actually has a lot in â†µcommon with a certain (currently embattled) American political force, â†µwho speaks to all while subtly tailoring his message toward his â†µaudience. Obama may like to talk about his play on the court, but in â†µfact, his greatest relevance toward the game might be as a model for â†µhow to sell it around the world.
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