Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4/30 Silver Reigns Supreme Quickie

*As I said yesterday, that was the most impressive display of leadership by a sports commissioner -- NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, FIFA, Olympics, whatever -- in modern sports history.

*There is a parallel universe where Silver possibly stumbles and the players go through with that reported boycott of last night's games, which would have been seismic.

*But, of course, Silver avoided that, while establishing his leadership bonafides -- his statement and press conference were an instant-classic example of how to communicate in a crisis.

*It helps that this issue is one that virtually everyone agrees on -- there was zero contention (beyond the inevitable Sterling lawsuit against the NBA, which vastly fewer people will care about).

*Even if he hasn't sold the team yet, the NBA is in its "post-Sterling era" -- we can return to a fascinating, thrilling playoffs season.

*Speaking of which: My Wiz! First of all, no fan in the NBA appreciates a trip to the 2nd round of the playoffs like a Wizards fan. I'm giddy.

*I can now finally allow myself to think about the options between having home-court advantage against the 8-seed Hawks or playing an exhausted Pacers team that needed 7 games to beat them.

*I actually think that Hawks are the tougher match-up for the Wizards -- that seems unfathomable, but it's true. That said: I have never seen the Wiz play this well, certainly not at this level of pressure.

*Speaking of which (again): I cannot imagine an NBA Playoffs season where a full-strength Thunder doesn't make it out of the first round. But that's where we are. It's stunning.

*I still think OKC wins the next two games, but I feel no certainty about that -- doubting the Grizzlies is exactly where they want you.

*Last point, reiterated: As quickly as the Sterling story emerged (was it really only 5 days ago?), Adam Silver has basically put it behind the league. Sterling is purged. Everyone is agreed it was the right thing.

Unlike most two-sided sports debates, there's really nothing left to talk about -- that alone makes it one of the most unique stories we have seen in sports in a long time.

-- D.S.

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