Last night the San Antonio Spurs seemed to commit basketball suicide in a road game against the 2012 Champion Miami Heat.
Spurs Coach, Gregg Popovich decided he was going to let his star players get some rest, as most of them wear Life-Alert buttons underneath their jerseys. Center Tim Duncan, as well as guards Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, and Danny Green all stayed home to prepare for a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Everyone predicted the collapse of the Spurs and chalked the game up as a loss for the aging Texas squad. In the end, the Heat did beat the Spurs, but it wasn’t by much, proving the Spurs have a terrific bench, and that Gregg Popovich is great at his job. If this was any other game, things would have moved on and no one would have cared.
However, on person cared: NBA Sith Lord Commissioner David Stern. In the spirit of the holiday season, Stern has decided to get his Grinch going a little early by calling out Coach Pop’s decision to rest his starters. Stern’s basic argument was that people pay to see these players come out and play basketball. When they aren’t out there, the league is ripping them off. Stern’s argument is more than unsound, it’s dumb. No one in Miami came out to see Tim Duncan. No one. If the Heat fans want high-grade flopping so badly, they don’t need Manu Ginobli, they have LeBron James. Secondly, at what point is Stern deciding is a rip-off? When a player sits on the bench, is the NBA ripping off the fans for a few minutes? How many minutes are too many minutes? For the Spurs starters to sit out one game in an 82 game season is beyond reasonable.
The plot thickened all the more when Stern said he was going to place “substantial sanctions” on the Spurs. Aren’t the officials for a Miami game “substantial” enough? I’ve heard of sanctions on countries for violent acts, but for a basketball team? C’mon. David Stern has had a bit of a track record when it comes to the Spurs, and this only adds fuel to the fire. San Antonio is all that Stern hates in a team. They aren’t flashy, they aren’t controversial, they aren’t the Lakers, and Gregg Popovich is the master at shutting down those halftime interviews. Overall, Stern sees them as a ratings killer. Naturally, this ridiculous and baseless action doesn’t come as a surprise for anyone.
Once Pop got on Stern’s naughty list, he stayed there. It blows my mind that the NBA commissioner can punish a coach for not doing his job the way he wants it done. I understand that Stern is the head-honcho of the NBA, but his comments are simply unnecessary and ridiculous. Popovich is the longest standing coach of any team in all major American sports. If he doesn’t get to do what he wants, I don’t know who does. Stern needs to do his job, while letting Popovich do his. With silliness like this taking place, it’s no wonder David Stern gets booed at every public NBA event. In case you couldn’t tell, here at Bustasports are pretty generally #TeamPopovich