David Stern live!
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

To start, I'd like to borrow from Carmelo Anthony's post-draft radio interview and thank myself first. Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for hanging around when times were tough. Thank you for never giving up when everybody else thought a different verb or a less convoluted sentence construction would best convey my message.

David Stern, LeBron James
LeBron tried to up the humor level with the suit, but he's no match for the Commish.
So, first off, thanks to me. Without me, I never would have reached this point.

In fact, I'm willing to say I wouldn't be here without me.

Anthony's self-congratulation and LeBron James' white-on-white-on-white suit reaffirmed an absolute truth of modern sports: The NBA Draft is consistently the most engaging night of non-event television. It was reality TV long before reality TV, and it continues to hold the top spot.

If only to hammer the point home, consider David Stern's unintentionally hilarious opener Thursday night. The grinning chief attempted to shoehorn a couple of gratuitous WNBA references into his first seven or eight words. A bunch of Jersey guys were screaming in the background, howling for the draft to start, and he goes off on the WNBA.

As we all know, most people watching were wondering where the WNBA All-Star Game is being held this year.

And not only that, but the commissioner would like to take the time to thank himself for the very existence of the WNBA All-Star Game.

This Week's List

  • That's one way to break out of the nameless, faceless world of men's tennis: Greg Rusedski, raging.
  • This just in from New York: If you've got a problem, any problem, go ahead and blame it on The Sensitive Closer, Armando Benitez.
  • Just a guess, but I'm thinking we'll be seeing these goofballs trying -- and failing -- to turn themselves into a Branca-Thomson traveling sideshow: The world's strangest custody battle came to a merciful end Wednesday when Patrick Hayashi and Alex Popov sold Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball for a disappointing $450,000 at auction.
  • The good part is: With the proceeds from the ball and a few trips to PayDay Advance, they'll have their legal fees paid for by the end of the decade.
  • Just for the heck of it: Boots Day.
  • There's nothing like being remembered: Welcome back, Brian Kingman, and bring your 20 losses.
  • Speaking of returns, two great words to see in a boxscore: "Save -- Beck."
  • At some point, none of it -- the wife-beater tee, the ankle bracelet, even the jet fuel -- is funny anymore: Jose Canseco, a shell of his former shell.
  • OK, Ben Grieve: Does it matter now?
  • By June 26, 2003, you'd think Grieve -- whatever his version of events -- would have figured out the most important thing about Lou Piniella: The man cares.
  • Scary story of the week: Sunday's Washington Post had a disturbingly good story on the growing practice of young baseball players in the Dominican injecting themselves with veterinary drugs as a cheap and even more unsafe alternative to steroids.
  • You can have your Karl Malone in baby blue, or your Jalen Rose from "Goodfellas," but for my money, the best NBA draft night outfit goes to: Samaki Walker, and the hat.
  • Look, it's "Margaritaville" in the fourth inning and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" in the eighth -- any questions?: In a story about a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by the Devil Rays' groundskeeper, the St. Petersburg Times reported the following -- "Eckert said the real reason his client was fired was because he stopped dancing to Jimmy Buffett tunes as he turned a rake around the infield during game breaks."
  • Just one question for David Stern: When the draft creates far more buzz than the finals, is it a sign the sport's in trouble?
  • Because, in a philosophical sense, it means one thing: People are more interested in what you might show us in the future than what you're showing us right now.
  • From Zarko Cabarkapa to Maciej Lampe to Sofoklis Schortsanitis: Someone needs to publish an NBA-to-English dictionary.
  • Question from a non-draftnik: When someone is described as "a softer Keith Van Horn," are we talking compliment here?
  • They'd be justified, but could they survive the fallout?: The Chicago Bulls and Jay Williams, clearly in violation of his contract.
  • No matter how little you and your Billy Beane-like friends disapprove of the stolen base, it's still a pretty cool achievement: Barry Bonds, in the 600-500 club.
  • Reminiscent of the Fred McGriff Tampa-Chicago soap opera: Juan Gonzalez, will he or won't he?
  • You can argue points all you want, but that wasn't the look of a winner: Vitali Klitschko.
  • And finally, do you think the timing of Kobe's announcement that he's going to test free agency after next season had anything to do with LeBron James taking the spotlight and ...: Nah, couldn't be.
  • Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at tim.keown@espn3.com.



    Tim Keown Archive

    Keown: Great expectations

    Keown: Bring us your tired former broadcasters

    Keown: To root, or not to root?

    Keown: Taking a bite out of the Crime Dog

    Keown: Heading for higher ground

    Keown: Gaining perspective

    Keown: More hot air than draft

    Keown: Re-taking the field

    Keown: Time out

    Keown: Bad seed

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