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David Stern says 'I have done more for people of color' than Bryant Gumbel in response to a 6-year-old slight

Gumbel called Stern a “modern-day plantation overseer” back in 2011.

AWXII - Day 4 Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for AWXII

Almost six years after HBO’s Bryant Gumbel called David Stern a “plantation overseer,” the former NBA commissioner said he has “done more for people of color” than the HBO sportscaster.

“My reaction was that Bryant Gumbel is an idiot and that I considered it a badge of honor,” Stern said during an interview with The Washington Post’s Nunyo Demasio. “He was repeating something that the players’ representatives had said in the middle of a lockout. He was just regurgitating something. He’s the same guy that did a feature on our players and tried to sensationalize their nightlife. And, you know, even though he happens to be black, he was talking about our guys and the women they hang out with, et cetera. I have no respect for him, so that didn’t upset me at all.

“My response was i've done more for people of color than Bryant Gumbel has,” he said.

Stern’s comments were a response to a 2011 episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, where the Emmy Award-winning sportscaster said the only way a lockout could be avoided was “in spite of David Stern, not because of him.”

“I say that because the NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seems more hellbent lately on demeaning the players than on solving his game’s labor issues,” Gumbel said. “His efforts are typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern-day plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys.

“His moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”

More than a half-decade later, Stern still remembers those words. Stern abandoned his post as NBA commissioner in 2014, and Adam Silver has taken the reins ever since.

Silver has evolved into one of the most forward-thinking commissioners in professional sports, having helped extend the NBA’s international reach while also promoting inclusion among all groups within the country. One of his first moves as commissioner was banning then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA after a recording of his usage of racial slurs was made public. He discussed the possibility of a midseason tournament in Mexico City and is on the cusp of blowing up the age-minimum Stern put in place.

Silver also helped orchestrate the smoothest collective bargaining agreement negotiations in the history of basketball.

So while Gumbel may have had some words for Stern, it may be tough for him to find any chinks in Silver’s armor just yet.