An Open Letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern

Mr. Stern,

David SternI have to admit it. I’m glad the National Basketball Association (NBA) resolved the issues between the owners and the players. After months of negotiations, you finally signed your agreement yesterday.


This means there will be basketball games for Christmas if I want to watch them. As a fan, I’m delighted.

However, I see your holiday cheer didn’t last long. Even before the agreement was signed, you decided to play Scrooge by vetoing a trade yesterday.

The sports websites and talk shows are full of news about this.

The trade was good for all the teams involved. It met financial and personnel needs for everyone. It allowed one team to add a great small quick player, a second team to add a much needed big guy, and a third team to add skilled depth.

I hear you vetoed it because it hurt competitive balance.

I don’t understand.

If competitive balance is the goal, then quit keeping score, quit having playoffs, and quit awarding championships. Every game must have winners and losers. This, by definition, is competitive imbalance. It is OK, even good, for the game.

Professional sports, like professional anything, is about allowing the participants, including the owners, managers, and employees, to seek their dreams through the route they believe is in their best interest. This means there are times when the organization and the people within it have to rebuild, refresh, and prepare. This trade allows three teams to do this.

Therefore, no one understands the logic behind your veto.

Is it possible that you vetoed the trade for another reason?

I realize you didn’t get everything you wanted in your negotiation sessions with the player’s union.

Is it possible that you vetoed this trade to try to regain some of your lost power?

I only ask this because it is typical of those in government to make a decision for personal reasons or to support a few close friends and then try to convince us it is in the best interest of everyone else. This looks like that.

You may have missed it while you were negotiating but people are now protesting in the streets over this type of government behavior. This is not a good time for you to do this.

Anyone who looks closely at this situation realizes that your decision is a poor one. Few, if any, people will benefit from it. Fans are disappointed, players are hurt, and managers are confused. Every basketball columnist in the country that has written about the decision is criticizing it. In fact, no one can even explain how your decision helps competitive balance.

Can you?

I hear the teams involved are appealing your veto.

May I give you some advice?

Reverse your decision.

There is a move towards peace in our society. This move includes the freedom to take individual responsibility for an action and its result. I suggest you move into the flow of this shift and not resist it.

You did this with the new agreement. You moved into this peaceful shift.

I’m sure your trade veto is just a blip on the radar. It is a habitual action based on previous paradigms.

I write this letter to remind you that the paradigm has changed.

Reverse your decision and let the trade happen.

It is the peaceful thing to do.