Special thanks to Chris Sheriden for posting this column on his new basketball web site: sheridenhoops.com
By Jan Hubbard
Imagine a hostile encounter between men less refined than David Stern and Dwyane Wade. Instead of utilizing words and gestures, they might resort to a physical battle. That would likely work against the 69-year-old NBA commissioner, who is far more skilled in the art of oratory than fisticuffs.
That’s not to say he is incapable of using his hands. It was one of those waving in the air with a finger extended that irritated the 29-year-old Wade, and we are to presume that it wasn’t even the middle finger.
Numerous reports from writers who have been credited on this site indicated that in a collective bargaining meeting last week, Wade objected to an animated Stern and apparently proved capable of raising his voice to Stern-like levels. Wade was described as admonishing Stern by yelling, “Don’t point your finger at me; I’m not your child,” or words close to that.
That had to be sobering for Stern because generally speaking, his yelling matches are one-sided. Behind closed doors, Stern is comfortable in a high-decibel atmosphere and his management philosophy is that screaming can be terribly productive, rather than simply terrible. Wade made it clear, however, that if that was true in the past, it wasn’t going to apply to current negotiations – at least not while he is in the room.