Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gary Bettman Is Evil

OR, David Stern is evil...you make the call.*

"Everyone has a favorite conspiracy theory about the NBA. Some like the idea that David Stern fixed the 1984 draft lottery. Others favor his supposed secret suspension of a star player for gambling problems.

Mine dates back to the early 1990s, when the NHL was white hot with fans and never better on the ice. Wayne Gretzky was in Los Angeles. Mark Messier was with the New York Rangers, who were on the verge of ending their Stanley Cup drought. Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy and many others were hitting their prime.

Anyone who doesn't think hockey can work in America is forgetting this era. All of a sudden, hockey was challenging, if not beating, the NBA in a number of major U.S. markets – including New York. It's almost impossible to imagine now, but it happened.

As the conspiracy theory goes, Stern sensed the potential trouble in 1993 while the NHL was in search of a new commissioner. So he looked around his own office for someone so incompetent that if they got the job, the NHL would be marginalized by their mismanagement and never again be a threat to the NBA.

Naturally, Stern recommended one of his assistants, Gary Bettman, for the job."

Ever since I became a Canes/NHL/hockey fan in 2002, I have always known about Bettman's coming from the NBA and all. But, I never thought about him coming because of David Stern being worried about "that Canadian sport" ousting his precious band of hoopsters. It is something to think about...afterall, as the article points out, the NHL had a top of the line product before Bettman got his filthy mitts on it.

I am well aware that if it weren't for Bettman and his reign, Raleigh, NC would not have an NHL team to call their own. But, that's the only good thing I can say about the one that so many hockey afficionados "lovingly" call "Buttman"...though, I realize that quite a few Hartforders would not really agree with me on that.

Current Music: "Willie the Pimp" by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart

* - I love giving my readers a sense of deja vu... ;P

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