David Stern reflects on league at final All-Star appearance

David Stern reflects on league at final All-Star appearance
February 17, 2013, 1:40 am
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HOUSTON In what was his final all-star game press conference Saturday night, NBA commissioner David Stern balanced it with both reflection on the past along with his vision for the league's future which will be led by deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

Stern has already announced that he plans to step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, with Silver replacing him.

Of the 37 all-star games Stern has attended as commissioner, he said his fondest memory was the 1992 all-star game in which Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson was named MVP.

Johnson retired in 1991 after he tested positive for the HIV-virus, only to return the following season and win his second all-star game MVP trophy (the previous time was in 1990).

"Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last three and still being able to hug him because he's alive every time I see him, that is at the top of the list," Stern said. "And it will not easily be dislodged."

Stern added, "although I do enjoy every all-star, that one will resonate for the rest of my life."

Stern addressed a number of issues on Saturday, but none seemed to garner more interest than the expected move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

"That's moving along," Stern said. "We fully expect to have that process completed for a report to the Board of Governors at its April 18 meeting."

However, Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson isn't ready to concede the Kings are gone just yet.

"We have been advised by Mayor Johnson of Sacramento, parenthetically - who we have not met with and who we have no plans to meet with here - that Sacramento will be delivering to us a competitive bid to the one we've received from Seattle. That will include the construction of a new building with a significant subsidy from the city of Sacramento and other things that would bring the region together to support the team.

Stern added that the Sacramento application is expected to be in the league's hands "well before" March 1.

Other topics of discussion by Stern on Saturday included:

2015 all-star game

There are currently two applications in for the 2015 NBA all-star game: One from the Brooklyn Nets, the other from the New York Knicks.

"I really think Commissioner Silver is going to have a great time with those applications," said Stern. "I really do, and I asked him to send me a postcard to tell me how they go."

When asked if it was likely that the 2015 all-star game would be one of those two venues, Silver replied, "yes."

The 2014 all-star game will be played in New Orleans.

D-League with 30 teams

"Ultimately we'd like to have a 30-team league, and we do envision a one-to-one relationship between every NBA team and a single D-League affiliate," Silver said. "We think it's the second-best basketball in the world after the NBA."

The NBA players union firing executive director Billy Hunter on Saturday

"I don't have any comment on the Players' Association situation other than we know as much as you do and nothing more," Stern said. "We've seen Derrick Fisher's statements, and we await notification from the union as to who we should be dealing with, because it has been a principle of faith for us that we will deal with whomever the union tells us to deal with. That's what we do, and it remains the same."