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February 14, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Thank you everyone for coming this evening. We will open with some opening comments from the commissioner, and then we'll take questions and answers. Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER STERN: Thank you. First of all, we are very happy to be in Phoenix. We've had a great opening to All-Star Week. And the buzz is palpable and we are enjoying it a lot, and even the weather is cooperating.
We want to particularly thank Mayor Phil Gordon; Councilman Michael Johnson in whose district this beautifully maintained and expanded building is; Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns; Rick Welts, President and COO of the Phoenix Suns; and the entire Suns organization on whom we greatly rely. Their staff has been exceptional in their efforts all year in helping us plan and execute All-Star Weekend.
For me, All-Star always is and has been, and I hope will continue to be, an opportunity to celebrate every facet of our game.
The NBA, WNBA, the NBA Development League, because for some period of time the All-Star city -- in this case Phoenix -- is the basketball capital of the world.
We've had a great first week. NBA Cares initiatives highlighted by yesterday's Day of Service, and I say to you as you watch this to understand that our players know that beyond the game, the next thing is the obligation to be socially responsible and to be leaders in social responsibility.
It wasn't quite New Orleans where there was such a profound specific need, but in communities -- all communities across America there is always great need and we are delighted to respond to it in the way we did with the various projects.
We're trying to be socially responsible beyond that working with the National Resources Defense Council to make our All-Star events as environmentally friendly as possible. Those are not necessarily profound deference, but those are the kinds of gestures we have to begin making as citizens and people until the ball gets rolling where we can have a more important impact on our planet. Unless there is someone here that knows of a spare planet that we can all go to when what we have been doing to this point destroys the planet that we occupy.
The Jam Session was great. We've had about the largest turnout we have had in years and last night we saw the future of the NBA on display with the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge Youth Jam. And we're trying to discern the exact nature of the overnight numbers, but we think we're up double digits percentage-wise and it really was quite a show.
And the show continues tonight, whether it's the Haier Shooting Stars, the PlayStation Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, the Sprite Slam Dunk, I'm unabashed, someone has to pay for these events. (Smiling).
And tomorrow's game will showcase the best athletes in the world on a global stage. And then comes the family reunion part of it. Everyone loves the legends of basketball. They are out and about, all over. I mean, heck, for me to go pour some cement with both Tim Duncan and David Thompson, if you are a fan, you are feeling pretty good. And our guys were out all over, or to plant a tree with Shaq or do all the things that our legends are doing.
Tomorrow obviously we get the opportunity to feed them at the Legends Brunch which has become sort of a very special event for a group here that wants to say thank you and celebrate the contributions that were made.
Now, here's my transition, speaking of legends. Before I continue with my formal remarks, I have an announcement which I consider to be of transcendent importance. Each year the Finals MVP is given to an exceptional, extraordinary player based on his performance on the grandest stage in all of basketball, the Finals.
Who better to name this prestigious award for than one of the greatest players of all time and the ultimate champion. Accordingly, it is my pleasure to announce here in Phoenix at All-Star Weekend that this award will henceforth be named for Bill Russell, a true legend of the game. The award will be called the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Bill is a five-time NBA MVP, a 12-time All-Star, but he never won the Finals MVP award because the NBA didn't start giving out the award until 1969 after he had won 10 of his 11 championships. And in 1969, he played his final season with the Celtics, he coached the team to its second consecutive NBA championship, his 11th overall, but that first trophy went to Jerry West, who was the only MVP of the Finals to receive the award having played for the losing team. It was that kind of performance.
Had our timing been better, there is no doubt that Bill would have won the Finals MVP award several times, but we're delighted that we can honor him in this way.
Bill inspired a generation not just of basketball fans but Americans everywhere. He is respected by colleagues, coaches, fans and his legacy clearly has with stood the test of time.
We know that Bill has recently lost his wife, Marilyn, who was a great friend of the NBA. I'm delighted to be able to tell you that we shared it with Marilyn before she died and she didn't tell Bill. So I would love to call up to the dais here Bill Russell in whose honor the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award has been named.
BILL RUSSELL: Obviously, David, I want to thank you. This is a bittersweet award. I just lost my special person, but I wanted to thank my teammates because we played a team game quite well, and this is -- I accept this for my team, and my team included our coach, Red Auerbach, and all my teammates over the years.
It is quite flattering, but I want to explain something to you, all you folks here, this is only the second time I have been out in public since I got my hearing aids. And so when I thought I was going to be with the guys from the press, I put them in the drawer back in my hotel room. (Laughter).
My wife, Marilyn, used to always ask me why I wouldn't wear my hearing aids, and she bought some fancy hearing aids. She said they won't show and all that. And I said, The reason I don't wear them is not vanity; the reason I don't wear them is because I like what I don't hear. (Smiling).
But, David, and the folks at NBA, this is one of my proudest moments in basketball because I determined early in my career the only important statistic in basketball is the final score. And so I dedicated my career to playing, to make sure as often as possible we were always on the positive side of the final score.
And like David said, it was ironic that I never won a MVP in the Finals. And it is okay because I will just tell you this, from my second year in the league, I was the most valuable player of the league by the players' votes, but I was Second Team All-League by the writers vote. (Smiling).
That's why I didn't wear them. (Laughter).
But, David, thank you so much. Very seriously, what I'm going to do next week is visit my father's grave because he was my hero and I'm going to share that with him.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I talked about the week, and let me just say I really do believe that based upon the talent on display this weekend that I have seen we are in a golden age of basketball, that the appreciation of our game is really as high as it has been in recent memory.
This is the first All-Star event in a bit that we have come in with ratings up on ABC, TNT and ESPN, and ratings up on average on all of our local telecasts as well. That's an important expression by our fans concerning our game.
And not only are the old standbys doing great, but when you look at Portland, Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando and in Atlanta, hopefully we'll have some movement -- there is a trial scheduled with respect to the ownership situation, so that keeps moving along too. So maybe that will get some resolution to it. But we have some young, exciting teams that are doing a great job.
I want to make one other announcement in light of the fact that our ratings are up, unrelated to ratings, actually, I'm pleased to announce that the Sunday games of the NBA Finals this year will have an 8 p.m. Eastern start. I want to give a thank you and shout-out to the Walt Disney Company, of ABC and ESPN.
This means that people who are young and I, who can be at the game, if we were watching it -- I have to be there -- and then go to sleep at 11:00. Eventually -- it is an experiment. We'll see how it goes. We are listening, and we are trying to do the best that we can for our fans. That's my announcement. Bill?
BILLY HUNTER: I want to take a moment to reiterate what David said in terms of being happy to be here. We met with our players. They are being treated fondly. The hospitality has been great. The City of Phoenix has made every effort to make this a positive experience. We're all happy and pleased to be associated with the best game on the globe.
Our players are young, excited. The game is thriving. TV ratings are up, and on top of it to be able to be here today to participate in this press conference at a moment when Bill Russell was honored is sort of just like icing on the cake.
I want to again congratulate Bill because I think it is well-deserved. And I'm happy to be associated with an organization that he was instrumental in helping to build. That's it for my opening remarks.
COMMISSIONER STERN: Okay. What do you got?
Q. David, given the current economic climate and given the fact that you had a team relocate last year, are you concerned that there is a probable increase in likelihood of franchises viewing this as an option? And can you talk specifically about what you know about Sacramento's status right now?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I always get into trouble saying this. I have been concerned for 25 years, and so I always worry about everything. But all I can say is that in a difficult economic environment we are going to maintain our attendance and our revenues, even last year. We are in the first year of an eight-year TV deal with the Walt Disney Company and Time Warner, and our teams, on average, have ten-year local deals. So we think that is some cushion.
That said, there will always be variations among our teams, depending upon the state of the local economy, depending on how good the team is, depending upon the building situation. And so I can predict nothing other than to say that we worry a lot and we offer to assist our teams and we are going to work together as hard as we possibly can to weather this economic storm that is really so far beyond sports that I feel almost insignificant talking about it compared to some of the suffering that is going on out there.
So I don't have anything specific to tell you about Sacramento. I guess I do in a sense that on February 27th the consultant that we are working with and who is representing the Kings and many others are making a presentation to the Cal Expo Board with respect to a large development that includes within it a new state-of-the-art arena. And we'll see how that goes, but I'm not going to make any predictions or promises.
But we have spent a lot of money, the Maloofs have spent an enormous amount of money to make this come to that place. But in these uncertain times, I'm not going to be in the prediction business.
Q. David, I know the league has already said it won't comment on a pending suit by Elgin Baylor against Donald Sterling and the league. Can you say anything about the conversations between either you or your representatives and Elgin Baylor's attorney. He has acknowledged that he has had conversations with the league that led to the amendment of the suit.
COMMISSIONER STERN: That's news to me. I don't know. I would tell you if I did. I read about -- I haven't seen the complaint. My instructions are to tell you that I haven't seen the complaint and, therefore, I can't comment about it.
I actually haven't seen the complaint. I'm unaware of that, and the news story about it was enough to make me very sad. I have known Elgin for, my gosh, I don't know -- I began as an attorney for the league in 1966. So there you go. This is one of our legends, and I just -- it makes me sad to read about that stuff.
But I guess we'll have some appropriate comment when we look at the complaint and we see what everything else is said.
Q. To follow up about the Elgin Baylor question, do you feel any sense of personal betrayal upon him just filing a lawsuit, knowing what the allegations are?
COMMISSIONER STERN: Well, I don't know what the amended complaint says, so I'm going to give him a chance to see that. But, no, I don't feel it. I feel a sense of sadness. Let's see what's going on there. But I don't feel a sense of betrayal at all.
Q. You have put a lot of effort in the offseason in upgrading the referee operations department. How is that going, and are you satisfied with the progress and what needs to be done?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I'm not going to throw Ron Johnson under the bus here and say Ron, get up here.
We're very happy. We see a spectacular morale on the staff. We see an energy and work that confirms their determination to be the best. We see a complete understanding of sort of the work rules that we put in and the kind of metrics that we are using to judge them, gauge them. They all understand what we are trying to do.
And they also understand, which is the most difficult, that when you get 8 or 9 percent of the calls wrong because you are human, there is going to be enormous focus on that call. And in a subjective way, you can have a vote of six basketball experts, two say LeBron walked, two say he doesn't, and two abstain. That's our game. It is a lovely game. We are proud of it, and our referees are the best at it. We are happy with the progress, although we are going to push for more progress.
Q. Commissioner, you earlier were saying that basketball is at an all-time high in terms of popularity, in terms of people tuning in. Speaking of basketball as an international sport, how did basketball bounce back after Michael Jordan having lost his global status?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I think that the reason that Michael was a global star was because of globalization. And the beauty of the NBA is that we have this perpetual flow of extraordinary talent that flows into Billy's union, for whom he gets 57 percent of every dollar that we generate. We spend 43 percent on other expenses and the owners wind up with nothing. That's what they tell me, anyway. Or that's what I tell Billy. (Smiling).
BILLY HUNTER: And I don't accept it.
COMMISSIONER STERN: That's right.
But then you look at the flow of young players and you look at the flow of international players that started coming in in 1992, and the game has gotten stronger as that flow has increased.
I like to think that the rules enforcements that we have that have opened up the game a little bit are important. We had a competition committee meeting yesterday, and it was, like, a love-in. Joel (Litvin) and Stu (Jackson) asked about what we thought about the state of the game. We like the state of the game, we like the openness, we like the enforcements and the way the game looks.
So the combination of the game, the American stars, the International stars and the global stage have been -- we're sort of tugboats directing this big ship, but these things happen on their own. This game is going to be televised -- oh, boy -- 215 countries and you add a language, we are up to 44 now. Not 43, I noticed.
So that was really a self-fulfilling machine, in effect, that does it. And it always comes back to the players. In my mind, sort of -- I always say that New York is the smallest town of all. I got more commentary from media based in New York "what a great week the NBA had." Yes, we had great games on ABC and we had the Lakers and Celtics on TNT, but the Garden had the Celtics, the Lakers and the Cavs in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, not in that order. You would have thought the game had just -- was born in New York City on that week. But it was an exciting week in New York because all of the stars were on display.
So that's when I step back and I said "boy, some good things are happening. People are beginning to appreciate what our players are capable of doing." And our players do it and they understand they are being counted upon to entertain, especially in these difficult times.
Q. Billy, around 1982, and I guess David can correct me on the date if I'm wrong on this, the last time the league faced what was regarded as a major crisis, Larry Fleisher sat down with David and they hammered out the salary cap?
COMMISSIONER STERN: '83.
Q. What would it take for you in terms of a crisis to sit down with David and say and address perhaps reopening the collective bargaining agreement in advance of its expiration?
BILLY HUNTER: I think your question presupposes that David and I haven't been talking. Yeah, we have been. I can't tell you that we are close to reaching a deal. But we have been talking and I'm obviously going to be as diligent as I can be on behalf of our players.
You must understand that we all understand that we live and benefit from the success of the NBA. The last thing we want to do is see it lose its vitality. We will do everything possible to reach a deal.
Whether or not that means we will reopen before the expiration of the current contract conclusion is another question. But I can say to you that we are anxious to reach a deal. I'm going to do everything within my power -- everything within reason to reach a deal, but I'm going to be an aggressive negotiator, on the other hand, on behalf of the players.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I think it is fair to say that we -- the one thing we are not going to get into an argument about are what the facts are. We meet with the union regularly. We turn over everything we possibly can. We may argue about what they say, but you are not going to be able to argue about what they are, because it is too important a subject.
The union audits on a regular basis a certain number of our teams because it is in the collective bargaining agreement. And so we're -- and then we'll see. Honestly, we have to see what happens now with the stimulus package, a lot of other things, but we have been very much involved with each other and we will continue to be so.
Ask him a more difficult one.
Q. What is your take on situations like the one involving Jamaal Tinsley where there is a guy under contract who has had some obvious off-court issues and the team tells him to stay home and stay away from the team.
BILLY HUNTER: It is obvious that we have -- I have some problems with it, so does the union in that we're concerned. We think that it may be a developing problem or issue.
Jamaal and his agent have been handling the matter until about two weeks ago when they contacted me about getting involved on Jamaal's behalf. After sitting down with him, we decided that we would file the arbitration grievance against the Indiana Pacers.
My contention is that not withstanding the fact that he has a guaranteed contract that the team is required to honor over the next three years, I'm concerned about any player who might be constructively terminated and/or discharged because the team tells them to stay away.
I do not know what the outcome of the litigation will be. It can go one of several ways, and we have explained that to Jamaal. But he is inclined and anxious to roll the dice. So we think it is a matter -- we are concerned about the precedent and mind-set because more and more guys it appears to be happening to.
So we think it is an issue that has to be addressed. As a consequence, we initiated the grievance that I guess was reported yesterday.
Q. Considering Tinsley's off-court issues, though, the fact they are legal and more serious, isn't there a point at which the league can say enough? Don't they owe that to their fans?
BILLY HUNTER: Without getting into the intricacies of them all, in some states there is a thing -- a principle called good faith and fair dealing. And I think that the -- it might be punishment that goes beyond what they are really entitled to do.
The kid is 29 years of age. He has got three years left on his contract. If they warehouse him for three years and he can't play, it pretty much terminates his career. And I'm not inclined to stand by and let that happen without some judgment being rendered by some arbiter. And the arbiter could very well say Indiana is within its rights. All it has to do is honor and pay his contract and he has no other remedies.
But there are several possibilities that might occur, and so what we are going to do is we are going to, first, hope and see if we can resolve it short of the arbitration. We are having some discussions with the team, the union and his agent. And if we are able to resolve it that way, we will. If we can't, then we are prepared to go forward.
Q. Can you talk about who initiated the talks that Billy described, which, if I understand correctly, could potentially lead to a reopening of the CBA?
BILLY HUNTER: I don't know. I don't know if David initiate it had or I initiated it. Adam Silver may have initiated it.
No, we just thought -- David and I talk from time to time and we just thought it was apropos that we sit down and begin to look at the situation particularly in view of the current economic climate in hopes of getting another deal in place without some kind of work stoppage, lockout, et cetera.
And so he and I are working diligently trying to come to some agreement. It is going to take work and some time. But, like I said, I will do everything within my power to get an agreement, and I think David feels the same way.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I do. I think that sometimes if you have some lead time, you can at least contemplate certain things that don't put you up against the hard stop when the agreement expires.
I don't quite think of it as reopening or not. Just to talk about frameworks and understandings and say when we get to the last day and then it is either one side or the other, it leads to bad things.
So talking has to be a good thing.
BILLY HUNTER: Thank you.
Q. Do you feel sorry or are you surprised that Hedo (Turkoglu) couldn't make it and what do you say about improving something, to get a call? Because I feel ashamed because this is my fourth All-Star, towards for him I feel like ashamed.
COMMISSIONER STERN: Because he didn't make it here? This is a tough league. We've got lots of unhappy people. They got unhappy they don't get elected, they get unhappy if I don't select them if there is an injury. Sometimes they get unhappy if I do select them (smiling).
Oh, no, that's Phil Jackson. (Smiling).
It is a great sport. We could have -- we could have four All-Star teams rather than two and they would all be well stocked with spectacular players. That's just what happens. I'm sorry you came so far, but there are people here from China who thought that Yi was going to make it. And that just happens. That's a tribute to the game. I apologize.
When you go back, make sure they build the buildings for the World Cup of Basketball for 2010.
Q. I have a referee question for you. Going back given that Joey Crawford had some issues with the league, I'm wondering if you have any sponsor reaction to Mike Brown's assertion that he made a predetermined call to decide a game last week.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I decided to ignore that because if I thought he had -- if I thought that he really meant that, I wouldn't have done anything to Joey. I would have suspended Mike. And Mike and I discussed it while we were pouring cement at the Kaboom Holiday Park, and actually the Spurs who were there thought I should increase the fine.
So there is something about the heat of a loss that gets us. It was not predetermined, and it was a good call. Actually, two people think it was a good call. Two people not positive. Two people abstain. Mostly, mostly good. You could look at it and look at it and look at it.
Q. Some of the talk here this weekend has been about trades, Amar'e Stoudemire, you hear his name in a team looking for expiring contracts, we saw similar things with Marcus Camby, last year Memphis with Pau Gasol. Do you anticipate a changing landscape for teams regarding free agency in this coming summer? Have you discussed that with teams about being careful regarding that spending?
COMMISSIONER STERN: No, we haven't discussed it with teams. They know exactly what's happening. They know what their finances are. They know what the issues are. They also know that the cap is going to start -- the cap is coming down and the tax -- we are getting close. If you don't have a lot of high revenue growth over the next couple of years, there may be a slowdown. But teams know the rules, and they can assess their own situations.
I have learned you cannot micromanage. Micromanage? You can't even reason with 30 NBA owners. It is just something that will happen one way or the other. What we do is we explain it to them. We'll explain it in August: This is what the cap is, this is where it is going, this is what projected revenues are going, this is what the outcomes are likely to be. And we do that every year. And after that, they are going to do whatever they are going to do anyway.
Q. Feel free to address Jamaal Tinsley. The Indiana Pacers owners are beginning to renegotiate their venue with the City, and they have indicated they are not happy with it and if there is a change in ownership there is no guarantee the team stays. Do you think there is a chance that pro basketball could leave Indiana?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I don't want to make Herb Simon's time too easy here by helping him out, but I will say that I do understand that what they are trying to get is some small fraction of what was done for the Colts, and so I think that's a fair response.
But I don't want to sit here and sort of implicitly threaten something. It is not going to happen. I think that to say that there is a rich basketball tradition in Indiana is -- talk about the self-evident, and the Pacers have been a good booster in the state, played some pretty good ball and hopefully they will be able to work it out. I sure hope they can.
Q. The NBA has been quite open that, after China, India is the next target for expanding. Would you elaborate on that a bit for us?
COMMISSIONER STERN: Well, there is an enormous growing middle class in India.
There were 300 million Americans and probably -- I don't know what our target is that, probably 120 million or 130 million, and of the billion two people in India, we think there might be a pretty similar number that are following our game a little bit. The younger they are, the more likely they are to follow it in the particular regions. We think that the American networks are rushing in for ownership of Indian networks. There is some concentration going on.
We think that programming of NBA is going to increase there. We recently had Robert Parish in India involved in school programs and the like. We are working in 600 schools in India. We just see that as a natural extension of what we're doing, the same way we are doing it in other regions of the world. But India is a very important and promising market.
Q. I heard that the New York Knicks would come to Europe next autumn. Can you confirm that? Can you give us an update on this situation?
COMMISSIONER STERN: All I can confirm is that we will have teams coming to Europe next fall. We will have teams going to China next fall. And certainly in the next number of years given Mike D'Antoni and Danilo (Gallinari), we think the Knicks would be an attractive team to possibly match up with Italy. But we have no specific plans to announce now. We just don't know when that will be.
But it is safe to say they're coming eventually.
Q. Commissioner, you mentioned at the beginning of course the NBA Cares effort is phenomenal, and we see a lot of it at All-Star and in our communities with a lot of our players. You mentioned a couple of things on the league-wide effort that guys are making with the environmental movement and to try to raise a level of awareness. Can you mention maybe a few specific things that you were doing?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I was afraid you'd ask me.
Well, we've expanded recycling with our teams. We've put our teams in touch with -- and directly with the National Resources Defense Council to be going over things that teams can do and many teams -- for example, the Suns -- are now installing solar panels and beginning solar energy. We share that best practice with other teams. We talk to them about food recycling as well. We are going to have a Green Day -- a Green Week.
We had Tom Friedman as a speaker this morning in the Newsmaker Breakfast. He talked about Hot, Flat, and Crowded. He would call what we are doing is a green party as opposed to a green revolution. But it is an important gesture, but it is a start.
We are doing that. We are focusing on the ability to purchase carbon credits. We are talking about biodegradable utensils, when you think of the enormity of the disposal that happens. We are talking about changing out light bulbs.
It is an opportunity for sports to teach. It is hard to say "league." You are traveling players around charter. Talk about leading with your chin, but that's an important thing for us to do, too, for other security, other reasons.
But we're out there and our teams are very accepting and pushing us and leading us in certain ways. What we are doing is best practices because if we don't get them all together, it will be pretty serious stuff, and sports has the opportunity to educate and teach.
Q. How confident are you that the current drug testing procedures in the NBA mean that there is no possibility of performance-enhancing drug use within the league? Could you ever foresee a situation where the union would support the kind of regulation you see in some national Olympic committees and other national federations?
COMMISSIONER STERN: What kind of regime are you talking about?
Q. In terms of certain days a week, 15 hours a day availability as opposed to game practice.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I'm not sure I would support it. I was reading about (Rafael) Nadal's responses to having to tell people where he was going on Saturday night so he could be tested if the blood hounds wanted to find him.
I mean, I think that random testing, which we do of our players four times a year, and adding to the list, if our drug panel of experts impaneled by us and the union adds substances to it and making sure we have the best analysis techniques and the like is what we should be doing.
And, by the way, that's what we do. Could we improve it? Sure. You could make it six times. You could hound your players completely, but you do something that you think is rational compared to where you are, and I think we're almost at the right place. There may be ways we can improve it, and we'll talk to Billy and the union about it.
But we're pretty comfortable that our system is working, and there have been some players who didn't make it through that have been disciplined either for cocaine or steroids or, yes, marijuana. And our players we think have stepped up pretty well and taken the consequences.
So -- and I'm not -- and I am just -- I find some of what is going on and some of the epic pronunciamentos that have come out, particularly when Mr. Pound was there to be offensive, to target an athlete and then say, well, his A sample tested, the fact we don't have his B sample that doesn't matter because one test is usually enough. Then why did you have the process in the first place if you are not going to afford the guy the rights he was supposed to have.
So there's a little too much holier than thou stuff going on. And we think our players have stepped up and done the right thing with us. And although we will continue to work with them to improve it, we are not on some kind of a witch hunt.
Q. I saw there was a story that Bud Selig drew an $18 million salary.
COMMISSIONER STERN: I knew someone was going to raise that. That was one of the questions that my guys said be careful, some wise guy is going to start. What's the question?
Q. What do you think the going rate for a commissioner should be?
COMMISSIONER STERN: I would do the Mastercard ad if they asked me, priceless.
Q. Are you having a better year than Bud?
COMMISSIONER STERN: That's like the old joke, Babe Ruth got more than the president, did he have a better year than the president. I think it is safe to say Bud is the leader of us all and deserving of anything that he makes (smiling).
Q. Have you begun the process of looking at the future in All-Star cities after 2010?
COMMISSIONER STERN: Yes, we have. We've bid specs out. And if I could read Ski Austin's lips, who is our executive vice president of events and attractions, a 20-year veteran of the NBA, that we're now out for '11 and '12, our specs are out for '11 and '12. We're accepting applications.
Next year, as you recall, it is in Dallas where Mark Cuban has assured me there will be 100,000 people at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.
I want to thank everyone for coming. Enjoy the weekend. I think we're going to have a great All-Star Saturday Night and Sunday. Thank you very much.
End of FastScripts