NBA commissioner David Stern went on SportsCenter to respond to the NBA Players Association's decision to reject the league's most recent proposal to end the NBA lockout. Using strong language, Stern said the days of "the nuclear winter of the NBA" were upon us and suggested the NBPA was given bad advice in deciding to file a disclaimer of interest to challenge the league in court.
"Frankly, by this irresponsible action at this late date, [NBPA Executive Director] Billy Hunter has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday," Stern said.
Stern's rhetoric was strong as he said the union simply is using this as a negotiating tactic. He referred to the possibility of the entire season slipping away as a "tragedy" and said Hunter and the players are "hellbent on self-destruction" and making an "irresponsible" decision.
"If i were a player, one of the 450, i would be wondering what it is Billy Hunter just did," he said.
Stern said the league felt the NBPA was preparing to do this for a while, which is why they filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. In an especially ominous quote, Stern said this means there will be "years of litigation." Finally, at the end of the interview, he apologized to fans before pointing the finger back at the NBPA.
"I'm sorry," Stern said. "I wish the union hadn't done this, but it's their choice. Their timing is not very good and their rhetoric is very humorous in terms of the magic trick that will improve their negotiating position."