David Stern plays along with fans at NBA Draft
Everyone knows the cool thing to do these days is to boo the commissioner of a particular sport at that sport’s draft. Sometimes it’s warranted (Gary Bettman and arguably Roger Goodell) and sometimes it’s all in good fun. Thursday night was all in good fun.
Thursday’s draft doubled as Stern’s 30th time announcing the selections and marked the last time the long-time commissioner would step to the podium. The fans at the Barclays Center were well aware it was Stern’s final draft, so naturally, they showered Stern with boos as he stepped to the podium to announce the picks.
Instead of cowering under the boos, Stern embraced the moment and had some fun of his own, egging on the fans on when he felt the boos weren’t loud enough. It was great theater.
Deadspin found a video that The Big Lead put together of all the great moments between Stern and the fans. At one point, Stern let out a beauty of a line, saying, “We’ve had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect.” Zinger.
As Stern stepped to the podium for the 30th and final pick of the night and of his draft announcing career, the fans gave the commissioner a standing ovation, eventually leading to one of the coolest moments in NBA Draft history.
After Stern announced the final pick, deputy commissioner and heir to the Stern throne, Adam Silver, brought out a special guest: Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem was the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft and the first pick Stern ever announced.
Hakeem came out wearing the same tuxedo he wore when he was drafted in 1984. The Dream gave a short speech, gave Stern a hug, and on the draft went. It was a tear-jerking moment. It really was. The end of an era.
The fans went on to boo Adam Silver. Those darn fans.