NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is establishing himself as the new sheriff in the league, showing a much more pro-active role than former commissioner David Stern. While the sports world is applauding the new commissioners actions today with the banning of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life over racial comments, there is so much more the new commissioner has already done since taking office three-month ago.
During the short time in office, Silver has already voiced his desire to raise the minimum age in the NBA to 19 or 20. The Commissioner has said that he would like to open a dialog with the NCAA on how the two entities could ensure that athletes are not just attending college for one year before jumping to the NBA.
Silver understands that education is important and a player should use the NCAA system to not only develop into better potential NBA athletes, but also to get an education. The new head of the NBA is aware that many NCAA players are under financial hardships and view early entry to the league’s draft as the answer to their money troubles. Silver wants to try to fix this in hopes that the NBA will see a higher caliber group of athletes coming out of college.
Currently, the NCAA and the NBA are seeing quite a few athletes leaving school after one or two seasons and entering the NBA draft. Commonly called “One and Done”, a player who may have NBA potential will enter college, play for a season or two, and then make the jump to the NBA. While some are actually ready for the NBA, there are very few that succeed. Silver would rather see kids stay in school and their college program, get their education and increase their chances to succeed in the professional league.
While the new sheriff of the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver, would like to see better athletes come into the league, he also would like to expand the NBA’s D-League. The D-League is a group of teams similar to Major League Baseball’s Minor League system, where players can develop their game. Not every NBA team has their own team in the D-League, and Silver would like to change this. The Commissioner feels that if each NBA team had their own development team, it would improve the talent pool of players. It would also give players that do not have the option to go to college improve their talent and potentially have a chance to make it into the NBA.
Silver also appears to understand that sports in general is an ever-changing business and that the NBA has global appeal. Similar to soccer around the world, Silver is not opposed to marketing from sponsors on jersey’s. The Commissioner views the option of branding on uniforms as a way to expand the leagues business partners coverage to the world. The added revenue could be a way to fund the potential program between the NBA and NCAA to keep kids in school longer.
While it took a little while, prior to the banning of the Clippers’ owner, Silver showed a firm hand on the public view of the NBA and everyone involved with teams. When the Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri dropped the F-Bomb in public during a pep rally before their first round game against the Brooklyn Nets, it appeared at first that there was not going to be any repercussions. However, after rethinking how the league should be represented to the public, Silver leveled a $25,000 fine on the Raptors GM.
As the new sheriff in town, Adam Silver is showing the NBA and the world that this is no longer David Sten’s league. Silver appears to want to see the NBA set a new level of professionalism and with todays lifetime ban of Sterling, it appears there is now a true Zero Tolerance rule in the NBA and it will be enforced. Welcome to the Commissioners Office Mr. Silver.
Commentary by Carl Auer