BOSTON — David Stern has been a busy man since vacating the NBA throne. The longest serving commissioner in NBA history has been traversing the corporate world while observing his former league within arm’s reach.
The league’s reputation and business has exploded since Commissioner Adam Silver took over in February 2014. The league has experienced a grand renaissance with a group of stars that has brought the NBA to the forefront while the NFL deals with a PR crisis and the MLB's ratings continue to drop.
Stern made a rare surprise appearance at the Celtics Shamrock Foundation Charitable Gala on Tuesday, entertaining reporters in a press conference and touching on a host of topics. Here's what Stern had to say.
On Why He's Here
"The Celtics are one of the great teams in terms of dealing with the community. So when [Celtics owner] Wyc [Grousbeck] knew I was going to be in town today on a panel with him, I said, ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good is news is that I’m going to be on a panel with you. The bad news is that I’m going to make you stay at night.’ And I said, ‘I’ll be there and it’s my pleasure.’ Anything to support the Celtics foundation with the work they do in the community is great for me."
On Life After The NBA
“I’m very busy. I’m a senior advisor to a venture capitalist firm, a big four accounting firm strategy group, an investment bank. I’m counseling several startups. I’m a senior advisor to the NBA as well. So I’m more picked up and I’m having a great time.”
On If He's Involved In The CBA Negotiations
“No. Not at all. I didn’t know there—are there CBA negotiations? No, I’m not involved.”
On If He Misses CBA Negotiations
“Oh, a lot. I don’t miss—that’s when I got my least amount of sleep. But I’m proud to say that the league has gotten to a very good place in terms of the players’ share and the owners’ share. What they can all see is that this is something that it pays to keep going. It’s fun to watch from a distance and not be involved.”
On The Growth Of The NBA Since He's Retired
“Well all I knew, I didn’t project anything other than that I was leaving it in the most spectacular hands with an All-Star executive cast and they would just do what was right for the league. And they have. I think it’s great. The combination of the growth of NBA Cares, the growth of globalization, the strong leadership that Adam has demonstrated. I think it’s wonderful and I’m very proud of my former colleagues at the NBA.
“We knew that media was going to be great and the good news is that it hasn’t stopped because it’s global, it’s digital and so there’s still a lot of life left in the growth on the media side. Television doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s more media over the top. I think it’s great and Adam is doing a great job managing it.
"I just spoke to Adam [Silver]. They had, I think, a triumphant visit in China. They played two games in Spain. The global aspect is going great and I think that it’s probably not a great idea to send the trophy to San Francisco before the season. There’s a number of teams that I think—we should play the games. That’s what I think.”
On The Warriors' Three-Point Revolution
“The game is always evolving and one of the things that I see now is that it is really cool to know how to shoot rather than slam dunk. And to know how to pass and it’s really fun to watch what the Spurs and the Warriors have brought back. It’s really wonderful. There’s going to be a continued renewed emphasis on shooting and basically that’s what the game is about. I love these discussions. We should have a four point shot. Maybe have a fourth official. I think the game is in as good a shape as its ever been. And it’s a great time to be a fan.
Did You Ever Consider The Four-Point Shot?
“No, never. Never. Then you should only go to a one–point shot. And maybe once you get four, maybe you should do five. One-through-five. It sounds like a good idea. No I’m kidding. Don’t quote me. But it’s fun to be a fan.”
Jared Weiss covers the Celtics for CLNS Radio and Celtics Blog as the host of the Garden Report Post Game Show.