There’s been a lot of talk lately about the showdown between San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and NBA head honcho David Stern. For those of you who haven’t been able to tear yourselves away from the cooling embers of the Petraeus scandal, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes: Commissioner Stern levied a $250k fine against the Spurs for sending home 4 of its starters before a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat. The mainstream media has turned it into a two gunslingers staring each other down, daring the other to blink. But is that really the case? Absolutely not. Despite pure tonnage of verbiage wasted on this topic I think there are two things that have been missed. The first is in regards to the entertainment value of basketball, and the second is about the intentions of Popovich.
While there’s no question that NBA fans love to watch the stars do battle on the hardwood (or whatever space age substance basketball courts are carved from these days) it’s certainly questionable, as many pundits have pointed out, that anyone in Miami showed up that fateful Thursday evening to see the aging trio of Duncan, Ginobli and Parker take the floor (and certainly if there’s a Danny Green fan club in Miami, then it’s a very lonely one). Stern levied his fine and issued an apology to NBA fans as though Popovich’s decision was a crime against their entertainment. If Stern is truly concerned how the fan experience is affected by Popovich’s decision, he’s evaluating through a single, highly myopic lens: the Marquee. Continue reading