During a radio interview on Wednesday, host Jim Rome asked NBA commissioner David Stern to respond to allegations that the league had fixed the 2012 Draft Lottery. The result will give the league-owned New Orleans Hornets the number one overall pick, likely to be national college player of the year, Anthony Davis.
‘Was the fix in for the lottery?’. Clearly unhappy Stern denied the question proposed. Rome continued to press the commissioner giving him little chance to respond. When given a moment Stern asks Rome: ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?’. Now on the surface this may seem disrespectful, however the commissioner is not one to have his reputation be so easily tarnished.
Jim Rome has no history of abuse, so it seems the response was making a point. Asking if the lottery was fixed to favour the struggling Hornets assumes the NBA’s guilt. Much the same is Stern’s suggestion that Rome has beaten his wife. Without prior knowledge of the talk show host, listeners may jump to the conclusion that the comment was based on fact.
The commissioner blames the media for trying to legitimise the NBA as shadily controlling the draft. He continues to explain that any scenario would have led to allegations of fixing. If the number one pick had fallen to the favourite Charlotte Bobcats, he suggests that he would be accused of ‘taking care of his friend Michael [Jordan]’, Bobcats owner. If it had fallen to the Nets he proposes the press would accuse the NBA of marketing the the team soon to relocate to Brooklyn.
Jim Rome and the commissioner continue in a heated, interrogation-like discussion until the interview ends. The question of whether the NBA had a hand in the recent draft’s outcome is unlikely to be answered and will certainly not be the last time David Stern is suspected of puppeting the league.