Adam Silver

For next year's All-Star game, NBA should focus on what really matters


For next year's All-Star game, NBA should focus on what really matters

The National Basketball Association got only one real lift from All-Star Weekend, and that is that LeBron James got to summarily dismiss Laura Ingraham.
Other than that, the big announcement after a largely uninspiring weekend was that Commissioner Adam Silver is going to televise more of the only thing the All-Star Game is actually good for – the assembling of the teams.
I suppose that isn’t exactly the bounce the league was hoping for from its first experiment in a format the National Hockey League abandoned as dated and the National Football League couldn’t make people care about their Pro Bowl, but the league’s bounce is the league’s problem.
So are the introductions, which one supposes will be sped up next year in Charlotte so as not to allow folks to remember why the game was in Charlotte two years after it was supposed to be in Charlotte.
But the only real production values the league ought to care about are the identities of the players on the two teams, if only because of our obsession with what we erroneously call “snubs.” If the idea is to see players irked by not being named, or elated by being named, then that is where the league’s focus ought to be.
That point was made fairly clear when Chris Haynes of ESPN was given the identities of the last two players drafted on this year’s teams – Boston’s Al Horford and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge. That was supposed to be a closely guarded secret apparently at the behest of Stephen Curry (who had a tough weekend himself), and yet it tumbled out like so many others – because it was one of the few curiosities about this event.
So if the idea is that the selection of the teams is the only real value other than the weekend price-gouging, then Silver’s job is to finish the job that begins by televising the draft – specifically, to televise the selections of the backups from which the draft emanates.
I mean, why do the players have to show their work while the coaches do not? Why is secrecy allowed for the suits but not for the sweats? What sort of anti-egalitarian message is being sent here? Fight the power! Rage against the machine!
And then when that’s done, the league should cozy up to Las Vegas again to undo some of the damage caused by its ridiculous “integrity fee” fiasco. After all, one of the undertold stories of the weekend was the way the betting line for the total plummeted once the smart guys figured out the two teams would not try to break 200, and everyone loves a betting coup. Thus, keeping up to date on betting trends, one of Silver’s ongoing initiatives, would seem to be an imperative in the years to come.
Well, that, and coaxing some fringe political yammerhead to insult one of the players for no decipherable reason. That one never fails to stick the landing.

The NBA finally steps into the ring with legalized gambling


The NBA finally steps into the ring with legalized gambling

The NBA finally put together its proposal to get a piece of the burgeoning gambling market, and the highlight is its rake.
Namely, one percent of all of it.
Adam Silver has been the one commissioner of a major North American sport to embrace the concept of legalized gambling, on the very sensible theory that it’s already happening. The only question was what their piece would be for advocating its legitimacy, and it was answered Wednesday by league attorney Dan Spillane, testifying before a New York State Senate committee.
A penny of every bet. Every money line bet, every bet against the line, every over/under, every teaser, every prop bet. If The Logo is on it, the NBA gets a kickback.
It will be the same, with varying percentages, for the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NHL (yes, there is lots more action now that there’s a team in Las Vegas that has the best record in the sport and looks like a lock for the Stanley Cup playoffs), the PGA, the USTA, the USOC and even Major League Soccer. They’ll all opt in for a piece.
But the trick is in what Silver and his 30 overlords decide to do with that one percent. If it’s just a windfall they get for doing nothing but nodding, it will be of no value except to them. If it is part of the revenue split with the players, we may see LeBron James as the game’s first $50 million-a-year player. If it goes to charitable and/or regulatory causes to keep the games on the square while putting some additional muscle behind the league’s talk about social justice, then one percent might not be enough.
After all, the only thing better than getting paid to no longer be a hypocrite is to help somebody else with the money. Between that and the fines accrued for technical fouls and ejections this year, the NBA might be flush forever.
And I think the league would certainly agree to that.

Does Kerr see medical marijuana in NBA's future? 'What we're learning...'


Does Kerr see medical marijuana in NBA's future? 'What we're learning...'

OAKLAND -- Two months after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would be open to allowing medicinal marijuana, his predecessor, David Stern, said it’s time to consider removing it from the list of banned substances.

So, naturally, Warriors coach Steve Kerr had an opinion.

“I do think it’ll happen eventually,” he said during his news conference prior to the Warriors-Raptors game Wednesday night.

“The world is starting to understand that opioids are way worse for you than anything. Right now, in professional sports, we’re just quick to write a prescription for OxyContin or Percocet or something when your shoulder hurts or your knee hurts.”

Kerr speaks from experience. During his search for a remedy to pain associated with multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015, he experimented with cannabis, something he elaborated on during a Warriors Insider Podcast last December.

The treatments provided no relief, Kerr said, but he did enough research and consultation with medical professionals to come away with the belief medicinal marijuana was worth a try.

The issue resurfaced when Stern, who presided over the league for 30 years before retiring in 2014, acknowledged in an interview this week that it may be time for the NBA to reassess its stance on marijuana.

Speaking to former Warriors forward Al Harrington -- a cannabis advocate and entrepreneur -- as part of the documentary “The Concept of Cannabis,” Stern noted that the fact that legalization in some states opens the door for allowing its use.

"I'm now at the point where personally I think it should be removed from the banned list," Stern told Harrington. "You've persuaded me."

The problem, at least for now, is that the ban remains in effect because it wasn’t rescinded as part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement.

Kerr concedes that taking marijuana off the list of banned substances is a “tricky issue,” mostly because of lingering outside perception. For some, the drug, no matter how organic, still carries a negative connotation.

“What we’re learning these days is that medical marijuana is much healthier than those alternatives,” Kerr said. “But the perception of the fans is important in terms of selling our business. But the health of the players should be, by far, the most important thing.

“You’ve got to differentiate between medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana. I don’t think it makes sense for everybody to use recreational marijuana. I do think it makes sense to use it for specific injuries.”