At the owners meetings in Las Vegas yesterday, David Stern finally weighed in on the drama that had the nation (and his basketball league) in a chokehold for the past few weeks. From the NBA, Stern on LeBron's television special:
"The advice that he received on this was poor. The performance was fine. His honesty and his integrity, I think, shined through. But this decision [to announce on ESPN] was ill-conceived.''
So in Stern's eyes, it wasn't what LeBron decided, but how. Nevertheless, he wished James well in the future, and called Dan Gilbert's LeBron-related letter to Cleveland "a little bit extreme" and "cowardly behavior." He also maintained the party line that there was no tampering or collusion among Wade, Bosh, and LeBron James. So, since Stern's the final arbiter of justice there, I guess no rules were broken.
Okay. Now let's move to Barkley.
During an on-air interview with Comcast, Barkley went unplugged on LeBronnukah. We've transcribed his thoughts below:
This has been like the national nightmare. I've never been so mad and disappointed in the NBA overall. Number one, they already had this deal done. It's coming out now. Instead of meeting with all these teams... They already had it done.
LeBron should have told the Cavaliers in advance. And Dan Gilbert clearly screwed up, because you can't say all that stuff. Because he got LeBron off the hook. If Dan Gilbert had just said thank you, and blah blah blah... [Instead] he made look LeBron like a better guy.
And don't worry, Barkley's not done:
A lot of these guys take themselves a little bit too serious. Let's see, a teacher, policeman, fireman, doctor, and somebody who's in the service. I truly believe those are the only five real jobs in the world. Everybody else should just shut the hell up and enjoy life. There's five legitimate jobs in life.
It's an honor and a blessing to play a sport for a living, but come on man. Listen, do we make things better ... if someone's having bad day or a city's having a tough time? Of course. But you can't think you're the greatest thing in the world if you play a sport--you got to keep it all in perspective.
The notion that you can be born in your hometown and rise from the ashes, that would mean ... First of all, I think for these guys as reporters, if somebody said to you guys, I want to bring a championship to Cleveland. Even 15 years from now, if he hadn't won a championship, everybody would respect him more. Saying, you know that guy wanted to win a hometown championship.
I talked to a bunch of players, and they all say, "If he would have took the challenge of staying in Cleveland..." Now, if he wins one in Miami, it's "Okay, congratulations."
David Stern may be an okay NBA commissioner, Barack Obama's a solid choice as president, and Alabama's already got two senators, but in Chuck's words, "Come on man."
Can't we elect the Chuckster as president of something?