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Los Angeles Lakers

November 10, 2011 by staff 

Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson defends NBA Commissioner David Stern NBA Commissioner David Stern has an ally in Magic Johnson. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend has leapt to the defence of the commissioner after Jeffrey Kessler, legal counsel of the players union, accused him of treating NBA players like plantation workers.

The strong racist accusation against Stern came after he gave the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) a Wednesday deadline on a take it or leave it deal, to end the NBA lockout. The players were unhappy with the deal and the way Stern, alongside NBA owners, has handled the labour dispute so far.

As Stern continued to show his bad faith and press the union against a proverbial wall, Kessler let loose with a verbal volley at the Commissioner. Magic Johnson though has come to the aid of David Stern. He believes the accusation by Kessler was totally out of line. Comparing Stern with a slave driver was unjustified completely and disagreeing with a man’s approach to negotiations does not entail anyone to make such ludicrous comparisons.

“He’s a tough business man and a smart business man,” he said. “That’s what he’s supposed to be.”

He further said that “can’t attack the man and what he stands for.”

He further appreciated David Stern and his record of fighting for more and more racial tolerance and diversity in the NBA since taking over as Commissioner of the league.

“This league is more diverse than any other league and has more minorities in powerful positions than any other league,” Johnson said during a phone interview. “That’s all about David Stern and his vision and what he wanted to do. He made sure minorities had high-ranking positions from the league office all the way down to coaches and front office people.”

Stern took over the NBA back in 1984 and has overseen the expansion of not only the league, but the sport of basketball, into a global phenomenon. The wily old commissioner has been blessed with talented and charismatic super stars throughout his tenure, such as Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but he too has played a role in the development of the league.

Stern himself reacted angrily to the comments made by Jeffrey Kessler. He accused Kessler of spewing unjustified rhetoric and called his latest tirade “routinely despicable”. David Stern was also accused by sportsanlyst Bryant Gumbel of acting like a plantation overseer last month, to whom he did not respond personally.

Kessler has since apologized for his comments and said he regretted his choice of words. The legal counsel clarified that the interview was given after a heated negotiating session and he let his emotions get the best of him at that moment.

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