An Open Letter to David Stern


Dec 5, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; NBA Commissioner David Stern on the court before a game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Dear David Stern,

For starters, I would like to thank you for all that you’ve brought to the NBA. The Dream Team, and many franchises like the Hornets and even the Heat. You are no doubt a great commissioner, and it’ll be sad to see you retire.

Unfortunately, you haven’t ran the league as well as you should have.

Let’s start with the technical foul rules. An exhibition of emotion, generally not directed at the ref, shouldn’t be a technical foul. Especially if it’s a bad call. The refs are told to officiate this way, but some of the technicals don’t show excessively at all. For example, Nate Robinson was T’d up for putting his hand up after being called for a foul. Is that an over reaction? LeBron James was T’d up for running after he got called for a foul on a clean steal. To call a technical is one thing, but to call a technical on a bad call is entirely different.

These refs, although they make good calls as well, really anger the players and the fans. The fouls are barely there. It shouldn’t be a foul if you get the ball cleanly. Why are refs not allowed to review this? They’ll make the right decision, won’t they? Or are they just too corrupted and biased to certain teams? Or are they unwilling to admit they’re wrong?

The Golden State Warriors don’t get any calls. Last week, I watched Klay Thompson wrestle a ball away from another player fairly, but a jump ball was called. He also got a clean block, but because it was Eric Gordon, a foul was called. If it’s a foul, call it, great. Don’t, however, give a player more calls just because of reputation. There are rules about the fouls, and if the contact is excessive enough, then it’s a foul. Not if the player is Kobe Bryant versus Robert Sacre. Or simpler, the player’s reputation. The number of whistles on the Warriors, and other teams such as the Raptors is excessive. There are way too many fouls called, and the game is corrupted because of it.

This is old, yes, but refs still do things like this. They make superstars like Dwyane Wade absolutely untouchable. This ends up costing teams games. Wins are very valuable in this league, sir.

No one is going to stop watching NBA basketball. Everyone loves it. It would, however, be nice, if the games were reffed fairly. If a superstar like Kobe Bryant is good enough to score and win without any calls, so be it. Don’t push him up there by rewarding him with phantom fouls that he didn’t work hard enough to deserve. Free throws are earned, not given.

You’re a great commissioner, and NBA basketball will never stop being loved. Some of your changes, however, have upset fans all over the league.

Sincerely, Tej Kamaraju at Golden Gate Sports