NBA commissioner David Stern, along with his heir apparent Adam Silver, will be in Phoenix on Tuesday for the Suns game against the San Antonio Spurs. A press release from the team said that Stern and Silver will be available to the media before the game.
It was not stated, however, why Stern is in Phoenix and why he choose to be in Phoenix on the night the Suns happen to be playing the Spurs.
Chances are, the timing is pure coincidence. Stern and Silver are probably in town for some other business (golf? spring training baseball? quality time at the spa?) or likely they are simply dropping by our fair town as they do with every other NBA market at some point in the season.
Regardless of how innocent the visit is, don't expect Suns fans to let him forget about a certain suspension decision from 2007 that still haunts this franchise.
Suns fans, as evidenced by this tweet for example, aren't going to care that the decision to suspend Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for Game 5 was the right call based on the rules of the game.
They won't remember that the Suns, without Diaw and Stoudemire, had a 16-point lead in that game but couldn't close the deal. They won't care that the Suns bench was ridiculously thin and underused by Mike D'Antoni.
And the fact that the Spurs won the series 4-2 won't stop fans from blaming Stern for their team failing to win more games with Diaw and Stoudemire on the floor.
David Stern is a lot of things to a lot of people. He's the lightening rod for silly conspiracy theories. He's the evil dictator who nixed the Chris Paul trade. He's the heavy handed PR master who nearly cost the NBA season because he couldn't find a way to help the players save face during the final moments of the recent CBA negotiations.
Fortunately, Stern doesn't seem to be all that thin skinned and he's going to need that thick hide should he choose to make himself publicly visible to begrudged Suns fans on Tuesday night.
The weather outside might be sunny and perfect, but David Stern will be walking into a storm of boos and heckles at U.S. Airways Center this week. That won't be a first for him.
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