Whether he's turning LeBron into the NBA's Lord Voldemort or Kobe Bryant into Harry Potter, it's fair to say that Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has a penchant for mythmaking. And a talent for it, too. Whether you agree with his perspectives or not, he always makes a convincing, entertaining argument. But that's not why it's news.
What if I told you the highest profile NBA writer this side of Bill Simmons had an ongoing vendetta against LeBron James and David Stern, the two most powerful men in the NBA?
Back in October, I wrote about it here:
I don't like to get in the habit of writing about other writers, but Adrian Wojnarowski is one of the more prominent voices on the NBA landscape, and he has just been KILLING people lately. ... you have to admire the fervor here, even if it's misplaced. Has anyone ever publicly told a commissioner to "Go F*** Yourself"? Because I wouldn't rule that out for Woj in 2010.
Yes, has anyone ever publicly told a comm... Oh, here's Woj's column from Tuesday night!
Spiteful and over-simplified? Maybe. But nobody attacks unchecked power better than Adrian Wojnarowksi, and it's always entertaining. So without further ado, the Top Five Moments From An Epic Takedown Of David Stern, the NBA's "power-drunk small-town mayor."
1. The lede:
The commissioner’s office will never escape this truth: In so many ways, Donald Sterling has carried out the NBA ownership vision of David Stern. Bully and mistreat your employees.
2. Where David Stern's taken to task for ignoring Donald Sterling's behavior:
Stern has long preached that coaches are too expensive, scouts too plentiful and perhaps no one has heeded the commissioner’s words like the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner. Yes, Stern’s silence and inaction on Sterling’s despicable behavior has to be considered as some level of approval.
3. Where David Stern silences Stan Van Gundy
Van Gundy tried to make sense of 593 foul calls without so much as a flagrant foul on Dwight Howard. And after speaking the truest words of the season – saying that Stern doesn’t allow dissenting opinions in the NBA, that free speech is a scarce commodity on league issues – the commissioner reacted in a most predictable, childish way on state-run NBA radio.
4. The anonymous quote:
"The question is: Do you have to be mean and a bully to be a commissioner? As he’s gotten older, he has become more mean-spirited, and it shows in how he deals with his own staff, coaches and with the new-age owners."
5. The hammer at the end:
The NBA has taken over USA Basketball and the Naismith Hall of Fame. It’s creating an infrastructure to control and make money off amateur and summer basketball through iHoops. The NBA has mobilized resources and staff to indoctrinate basketball cultures in the Far East, Europe and beyond.
But for all the new worlds that Stern tries to conquer, he’s losing touch ... Stan Van Gundy will be made to regret his words far more than Donald Sterling will ever his deeds. That’s the cold-blooded truth of a cold-blooded code.
That’s David Stern’s NBA.
For the record, has David Stern gotten too much credit and not nearly enough criticism throughout his tenure as NBA Commissioner? Probably. But just because someone's flaws are overlooked doesn't mean that person's fundamentally flawed. David Stern's NBA ain't perfect, but it's pretty damn healthy right now.
Likewise, just because statistics can poke holes in the myth behind someone like Kobe Bryant, it doesn't mean Kobe's not the best guard of this generation, and a Top 10 Player of All Time. Just because Christopher Nolan's creative genius has been overplayed lately doesn't mean he's not a great director. Just because Oprah can't possibly be as virtuous as her propaganda claims, it doesn't mean she's an outright fraud. The same can be said of Stern.
At some point, everyone's reputation precedes them, and if they're successful enough, it overshadows some important flaws. But while we remember the flaws, it's just as important to enjoy what makes them resonate in the first place. In other words, enjoy what makes them unique.
That's been my attitude with David Stern for a while now.
And isn't that where we are with Adrian Wojnarowksi?