By Ben Golliver
In a moment so cringe-inducing it wouldn't even make the final cut of a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, NBA commissioner David Stern made a grave flub during the Miami Heat's championship ring ceremony on Tuesday, accidentally referring to Hurricane Sandy, which has ravaged the Eastern seaboard, as "Hurricane Katrina."
"Before we begin, I know that everyone here and around America watching, has in their thoughts and their abiding concerns, those who are affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath," Stern said. "That said, we have a celebration tonight. And so congratulations to Micky Arison and the Arison family. Congratulations to Pat Riley and the entire organization. Congratulations to Erik Spoelstra and the entire coaching staff. Congratulations to the resilient, passionate, teamwork-oriented, dedicated, second-time champion Miami Heat players."
The American Airlines Arena crowd immediately recognized Stern's mistake and got louder and louder, causing Stern to raise his voice. Finally, cheers went up when he congratulated the Heat players.
Hurricane Sandy is threatening to disrupt the NBA's opening week lineup.
Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports notes that TNT's commentating crew did its best to cover for Stern's unfortunate mistake.
After the Heat had received their title rings, TNT studio host Ernie Johnson noted the misstep, clarified that the commissioner obviously intended to say "Sandy" and, at the suggestion of colleague Charles Barkley, informed viewers that they can text donations to the American Red Cross disaster relief effort by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 on their cellular phones.
Stern announced last week that he plans to step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014.