By Jan Hubbard
One element previously missing from NBA negotiations was introduced last week, and we have Bryant Gumbel to thank for that. At a time when NBA fans were at their most depressed about the potential loss of the season, Gumbel took matters into his own vocal cords and provided a little comic relief.
Thanks, Bryant. We needed that.
Hard to believe, but some were offended by Gumbel’s suggestion on his HBO show Real Sports that David Stern was like a “plantation overseer.”
Come on. That was just Bryant being Bryant. You know, he probably jokes about the fact that he hosts a program that includes six other correspondents — four white men and two white women – and who has ever had issue with that? If he wanted to be nasty, Gumbel would have made comparisons to Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Quaddafi, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson or Al Capone.
But did he?
The man knows restraint.
In the same monologue, Gumbel also referred to Stern as “the NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner,” and some were offended by that. But, again, it was a comment that was misconstrued. It was not a shot at Stern – it was a compliment. Who better to recognize egocentrism than the overly-pious Gumbel? And what greater praise than essentially saying, “He’s just like me!”
Even Charles Barkley, the ultimate merry prankster, reacted strongly, calling Gumbel’s comments “stupid.”