Adam Silver is the new commissioner of the NBA. That in itself is no surprise, he had served as deputy commissioner since 2006. He had been commissioner in waiting for at least a year. What is troubling is the process or lack thereof. In this era of ever increasing transparency you would think that a position of this magnitude would be a bit more involved or exhaustive in its search. Bloomberg Newsweek lauded the NBA on the seamless transition from David Stern to Adam Silver. But it is challenging for me to see the merits in this transition. The omission of any other candidates being able to apply in light of Stern and Silver relationship stinks. I get it, the NBA is not a democracy, it is a privately held business. One that is seemingly not immune to favoritism, cronyism and (almost) nepotism.
Adam Silver started as David Stern’s personal assistant in 1992 after contacting him for career advice. Silver was an attorney unhappy with his career path at the time. He then proceeded to be promoted through the ranks until voilà, commissioner. Excuse me if my tone is somewhat accusatory or suspicious, but there is no process that would allow for my tone to be balanced or even. Let me see, I write my father’s friend and former business partner for career advice, begin to work for him, he then proceeds to mentor me, develop me and give me the hard cosign to the owners as his successor and it’s business as usual in the good ole boy network.
Adam Silver had access to David Stern. He parlayed that access into his present position. I will not argue the merits of Silver getting the position. He may have been the best person for the job. He seems highly capable and intelligent. Replacing arguably the greatest commissioner in pro sports history will not be an easy undertaking for anyone so his temperament and knowledge of the organization may have made him not only the likeliest candidate but ultimately the best. And, I do believe he will do a fine job and I have been impressed with his poise and understanding of the complexity of the issues facing the NBA. What I take issue with is that Stu Jackson, Phil Jackson , Magic Johnson or anyone else had the opportunity to even apply. That is problematic. At least to me…..Dees