10.26.06

David Stern Vs. The NRA

Posted in Basketball at 6:09 pm by

Much the way Marcus Camby’s choice of an OJ Simpson t-shirt was the straw that broke the camel’s back prior to the institution of the NBA’s dress code, Sebastian Telfair’s alleged involvement in the Fabolous shooting might’ve sounded the same death knell for the Association’s pistol packing ways. NBA Commisioner David Stern, as quoted by the AP yesterday :

œIt™s a pretty, I think, widely accepted statistic that if you carry a gun, your chances of being shot by one increase dramatically, Stern said during his preseason conference call. œWe think this is an alarming subject, that although you™ll read players saying how they feel safer with guns, in fact those guns actually make them less safe. And it™s a real issue.

The NBA™s collective bargaining agreement allows players to own licensed guns, but they can™t carry them on any league or team business. Asked what kind of firearm rule he would want if collective bargaining weren™t involved, Stern said: œI would favor being able to have a firearm to protect your home. Period.

He added that walking the streets carrying guns was œdangerous for our players, but said there has been no further discussion with the union about strengthening the policy.

In general, this strikes me as a not-so-inflammatory statement from the Commish. If he’s being selective in going after the trigger happy workforce rather than the glug-glug-glug likes of Eric Musselman and J.J. Redick, it’s worth wondering in what context Stern’s comments were raised. Was he volunteering his personal opinions regarding gun ownership, or was he asked?

Either way, the LA Times’ J.J. Adande considers Stern’s remarks to be ill-advised.

Only in the NBA could the commissioner go from defending the widely criticized new ball to criticizing the players’ right to defend themselves. Actually, given the angry reaction to the synthetic leather basketballs, maybe the logical next step for David Stern was to get guns out of the players’ hands. You know, in case things escalate.

Carrying guns is one of those Things That Only Seem Bad When NBA Players Are Doing It. You know, like going from high school straight to the pros. Fine for baseball, hockey, tennis and golf, but a danger to our society when it involves basketball.

The New Jersey Nets’ Richard Jefferson pointed out the double standard when he dealt the Dick Cheney card to the Newark Star-Ledger.

“Shoot, our vice president shot somebody in the face,” Jefferson said in the aftermath of the Jackson incident. “A dude gets punched in the face and fires off shots and all of a sudden it’s, ‘What’s an athlete’s things with guns?’ Shoot, people go on hunting trips with semi-automatic weapons. Is there a need to take an AK-47 to shoot deer? Which one is worse?”

Isiah Thomas, speaking on the matter of Eddy Curry after the Knicks’ 113-102 preseason win over the Sixers last night, as transcribed by Newsday’s Ken Berger.

“We’re not asking him to do anything out of character,” Thomas said yesterday after practice. “But what we’re asking him to do is, he’s such a big man that he, like Shaq, is officiated differently. They’re so big, players get away with an extra pull and an extra hit and an extra push.

“He’s got to get to the point where he’s not depending on the official to stop that guy from holding him and putting his hands on him. He’s depending on himself to say, ‘Next time you put your hands on me, I’m going to put my hands on you.’ Then it stops.”

Curry is entering his 6th season in the NBA. But Thomas insists the Knicks aren’t asking him to do anything out of character.

Wally Walker has resigned as president and CEO of the Seattle Sonics. The ugly rumor about the new owners appointing Barry Switzer is just that.

The Hawks have lost Marvin Williams for 6-8 weeks with a broken bone in his left hand. Mike Bibby and Clinton Portis both agree, the preseason is way too long.

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