Today is officially one year since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the reigns from David Stern. But, we’ll get back to that, because Oscar Robertson has taken the gossip column’s main headline.
We are aware that the Superbowl is on later, so we’ll make this quick.
OSCAR ROBERTSON BACKING POT LEGALISATION IN OHIO
NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, an ex-NFL player and a fashion designer are among the investors in a group called ResponsibleOhio and they want to legalize marijuana use in Ohio.
The group released a list of 11 backers who include Ohio business people and philanthropists.
Robertson is the biggest name on the list of investors. He played at the University of Cincinnati in the late 1950s before going on to a stellar NBA career with the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.
He said in a statement released by ResponsibleOhio that he was taking part because of the benefits from medical marijuana.
“It’s a terrible feeling when you can’t help someone suffering from cancer or another debilitating medical condition — I know from personal experience,” Robertson said in the statement. The NBA great had surgery a few years ago after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Veteran NFL defensive end Frostee Rucker, who played with the Arizona Cardinals this past season and earlier was with both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, is another backer, as is New York-based fashion designer Nanette Lepore, a Youngstown native, the group said.
Columbus real estate developer Rick Kirk and Cincinnati radio station owner Frank Wood also are among the investors released by ResponsibleOhio.
Supporters envision a network of 10 growers sending the product to designated testing facilities for safety and potency screenings. The pot would then go to either not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries, retail outlets or to be infused into various consumer products.
COMMISSIONER SILVER: 1 YEAR IN
February 1 marks the 1-year anniversary of Adam Silver’s reign as NBA Commissioner. In that time, he banned disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for making racist remarks, signed a $24billion television deal and a few more wholesale changes.
It also surely didn’t hurt Silver’s approval rating when Forbes Magazine, in its freshest round of NBA valuations published last week, asserted that the average worth of a franchise in this league has spiked to $1.1 billion, accounting for the biggest year-over-year gain (74 percent) since Forbes began assessing values of teams in the four major North American sports leagues in 1998.
The notion of perfection, of course, is hyperbole. It’s folly to suggest everything went according to plan for Silver; just one example is the eleventh-hour resistance in October to lottery reformafter he spent much of the summer pushing a new structure to the draft lottery to hush the rising discontent with the perceived commitment from the Philadelphia 76ers (and others) to try to lose their way to the No. 1 pick.
The honeymoon phase will come to an end soon. There is much to do in Year 2, whether it’s the ongoing challenge to find the right formula to phase in the new TV money and keep the salary cap from a wild spike of its own … or negotiating a workable truce between the various big- and small-market teams haggling behind the scenes over the future of revenue sharing … or the looming prospect of contentious labor negotiations with Michele Roberts, new executive director of the NBA players’ association.
Roberts, after all, has quickly left an impression around the league that she’s looking for a fight.
There’s lots more, too, beyond dueling with the union and taking on tanking.
Legalized sports betting.
Increasingly loud calls for tougher drug testing.
Potentially shortening the preseason to reduce the number of back-to-backs in the regular season.
And, of course, addressing that stubbornly pesky gulf in quality between the ultra-deep Western Conference and the much easier East.
So many bold-faced agenda items to tackle in 2015 and beyond.
STERN’S THOUGHTS ON SILVER’S ROOKIE YEAR?
Reached this week by ESPN.com, commissioner emeritus Stern said of his protégé: “On every subject, from dealing with charged ownership issues to successfully negotiating television extensions, from digital development to international basketball and business expansion, Adam has succeeded with a deft touch that reflects his keen knowledge and hard work. His first year confirms what we all knew going in: Adam is an A+ Commissioner.”
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