Most recently we have seen his fingerprints all over the bizarre Chris Paul veto, the NBA lockout, the Tim Donaghy scandal and implementing the dress code.
But now, much like a Vince McMahon WWE storyline, Stern’s role in the show has taken a twist.
From villain to peacemaker.
With only a half season left in his tenure as the most famous NBA commissioner in the leagues history, Stern, a famously hard-nosed, stubborn negotiator, a winner if there ever was one, is trying to bring two rivals together. The question is, though, does he have an agenda in this after all?
More from Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer: “David Stern reportedly went out of his way to make sure the two team owners in his league’s biggest metropolis didn’t ruin his final run by acting like churlish, bickering brats. This is why, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, Stern sat down New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in order establish a more tactful line of dialogue between two of the league’s most infamous owners. Or, perhaps most importantly, two of the league’s most free-spending owners.”
“There was such a meeting and the parties both said it was a very cordial and pleasant one,” said one league official with knowledge of the sit-down, which happened early in the season.
Another person with direct knowledge of the sit-down called it “cordial and friendly.”
Spokespersons both for Prokhorov and for the Knicks said “no comment” regarding the meeting.
Dwyer agrees with Kerber who believes it was Prokhorov who started this whole rift:
One July morning in 2010, Knicks Nation awoke to a Godzilla-sized rendition of Prokhorov and then team advisor and minority share owner Jay-Z plastered on the side of a building near Madison Square Garden proclaiming a “Blueprint for Greatness” as the Nets readied their move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
According to several sources, Dolan was furious about the 22-story, 21,375 square-foot billboard and called league officials to complain, a tactic he repeated last year after Prokhorov referred to him as “that little man” in a New York Magazine article.
Stern, despite what many believe, always tries to keep the bigger picture in mind and work toward a goal that’s best for the league:
Enough, said the league. Is this any way for the two New York teams, who plan to share the 2015 All-Star Game, to act? So the league wanted the two men in the same room in an attempt to squash any lingering animosity and to prevent additional hostility. Enter Stern.
The NBA, with or without Stern, needs them to play competitive on the court and nice off of it. Leave the media-jabbing to, well, the media.
Between Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Amar’e Stoudemire, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Raymond Felton, Brook Lopez, Jason Kidd (ex-Knick and new coach of Brooklyn), Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Jason Terry, putting these two teams on the court with no history or rivalry at all ought to be good, right?
Well, they’ve decided to make it even better for us.
The only thing that could make this rivalry more WWE than Stern (Mcmahon) getting involved and Jason Kidd going in a matter of weeks from Knicks point guard to Nets coach would be Carmelo Anthony blocking a game-tying Tyson Chandler dunk and then putting on a Brooklyn jersey to celebrate with the Nets.
We all remember what Paul Pierce had to say just a few short weeks into his time with the Nets:
“Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level,” Pierce said on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” “I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.”
Knicks point guard Raymond Felton had this to say in response to Pierce:
“He’s just trying to talk, talk, talk, to fuel the rivalry, which is good. I love it,” said Felton, who laughed when asked about Pierce’s comments. “I think it’s good for us, it’s good for the whole state, it’s good. So, whatever — I love it.
The Knicks and Nets will square off in the first of four regular season games December 5th in Brooklyn.
Wait, we only get four games?
Ben Baroff is a basketball journalist who blogs for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter here.