David Stern’s NBA – the only NBA many of us have ever known – is teetering momentarily, locked in a labor-management dispute marked by greed, power, lust and, I’m sure, the occasional Caucasian lie. As a rule, Stern gets his way; when he doesn’t, somebody usually goes away.
Here, now, as he maneuvers to save the season and his legacy, a rare inside look at a recent typical day in the life of the NBA commissioner:
6:40 a.m.: Checks New York Times obituary page for possible Supreme Court openings.
6:53: Summons Scarsdale, N.Y., police after family’s “Where Amazing Happens” welcome mat disappears.
7:08: Has personal assistant decline “Dancing With the Stars.”
7:33: Writes four major airline CEOs requesting “something better than first class.”
7:55: Fines Mark Cuban $250,000 out of force of habit.
8:12: In sign of times, packs a bag lunch to work – chateaubriand on whole wheat toast, ’09 Domaine La MilliereChateauneuf- du-PapeVieillesVignes.
8:50: Fires gardener after he refuses to adhere to coat-and-tie-on-the- road dress code.
8:59: Fires driver for reading Peter Vecsey’s New York Post column on coffee break.
9:08: Fires dry cleaner for not putting enough starch in his boxers.
9:45: Spends an hour at Occupy Wall Street protest wearing Roger Goodell mask.
10:57: Drops by Madison Square Garden to see if they can extend Westminster Dog Show to a full week.
11:16: “Think, think, think: Is Doug Collins a coach or a TV analyst?”
11:23: E-mails Gary Bettman to get a tip or two on what to do with a whole year off.
11:35: Orders TNT to play 1984, 1998 and 2010 NBA Finals on endless loop until further notice.
12:02 p.m.: Contacts Tim Donaghy to find out easiest way to get a bet down on an NHL game.
12:17: Invoking hidden clause in NBA by-laws, strips Mavericks of 2010-11 title and declares Lakers as champions.
12:39: Makes discreet inquiries to Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi about plausibility of WNBA “replacement players.”
1:01: To avoid public derision, shifts Friday shoeshine in-house.
1:26: “Note to self – see if Hawks will consider changing nickname to ‘Angry Birds.’ ”
1:47: Calls Marriott in Orlando to see how much more time he has before losing deposit on All-Star Weekend hotel suite.
1:48: Calls Alicia Keys to see how much more time he has before losing deposit on All-Star Weekend entertainment.
2:20: As part of oddly satisfying monthly ritual, has someone from NBA security warn Dennis Rodman about off-the-court conduct.
2:41: “If Billy Hunter comes back with a 9-9-9 plan, I’m gonna choke on my coffee.”
3:13: Sees if Ron Artest is serious about changing name from Metta World Peace to Metta World Tolerable Co-Existence.
3:38: Suspends work on memoirs until bust he commissioned is finished.
4:09: Checks with Greenwich, Conn., Boys & Girls Club to see if LeBron James’ check ever cleared.
4:22: Asks Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov if he knows any persuasive Russian “negotiators.”
4:47: Reaches out to Maloof brothers to check Palms Casino room availability at Christmas.
5:04: Suggests to ESPN that Stuart Scott may want to host Euroleague pregame and halftime shows.
5:48: Dines at Per Se; tries lobster bisque at recommendation of waiter, Carmelo Anthony.
7:12: Sends text to Brian Williams of NBC News correcting him on improper use of the term “didactic.”
7:30: Daily dilemma: “Wheel of Fortune” live or “Judge Joe Brown” on TiVo?
8:02: Watches first two seasons of “Mad Men” on DVD.
9:43: Double feature on home video: “Forget Paris” and “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.”
11:02: In rare setback, wife Dianne decides to remove 24-second shot clock from master bedroom.
11:04: Weekly séance in ongoing attempt to reach Niccolo Machiavelli.
11:15: Plays 45 minutes of online poker. Screen name: commishoftheworld.
12:01 a.m.: Takes nightly hot tub while Adam Silver feeds him grapes.
Ask The Slouch
Q. If Frank McCourt gets the Dodgers and Jamie McCourt gets $130 million, who gets the shaft? (Richard Pine; Pittsburgh)
A. Dodgers fans and divorce lawyers.
Q. If Tony La Russa had been alive during colonial days, would Paul Revere have been permitted to finish his dash or would he have been lifted for a relief rider? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. When Tony La Russa attends a wedding reception, does he demand different servers for the appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)
A. Pay the man again, Shirley.
Q. Are you aware that Tony La Russa has been known to change bank tellers mid-transaction? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)
A. Yes, we have our first three-time winner in a single week!