ESPN's Scoop Jackson (who, by the way, bought me my first "Hurricane"--the drink) is wrapping up the year, and unfortunately cloaking it in a bit of misinformation. Jackson says one of the biggest stories of the year is the NBA's slipping an age requirement and a dress code into the collective bargaining agreement:
What David J. Stern and the owners did was make the rules unchallengeable because of their placement. In making them part of an agreement that had the power to take the players' livelihood from them, The League forced the hands of the ones feeding them. And they knew this was high-end ghetto roulette with six bullets in the cylinder.
Think about it: How bad would the players and the players' union have looked if they had the entire NBA season suspended because of provisions of a dress code? How bad would the PR have been against the players if they revolted against an age requirement when Kwame Brown keeps being Kwame Brown? The League had the union in a no-retaliate position, checkmate. The owners basically put the players in a position to get as mad and upset as they wanna be without being able to do a damn thing about it.
As conniving, cutthroat and calculating as it was, we had to respect its brilliance.
Here's the problem with Scoop's theory: the dress code is not part of the collective bargaining agreement. It's straight Commissioner's decree, so David Stern did this exactly not the way that Jackson fileted him for doing it.
I'm all for fileting David Stern on any number of issues, but let's get the facts straight.
And as long as we're getting the facts straight, here are a couple more bits of news from Scoop Jackson's year-end review: Scoop, I get why you say Stephen A. Smith having his own show is a big deal. But whether or not he's the first truly black man to have his own show since Arsenio Hall, he's not one of the biggest stories in sports until lots of people actually start watching the show. It's premature to give him a big prize at this point. Race aside, Stephen A. Smith has taken a golden opportunity and made it bronze. Save your medals for better achievements.
Scoop Jackson also spreads the word about something I didn't know about: Kevin Garnett promised Oprah he would build one house per month for the next two years to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He's right that we should all know more about this kind of stuff.