On Thursday night, the Miami Heat won their second consecutive NBA championship. Throughout this competitive series, the Heat have been able to bounce back against the San Antonio Spurs. Although I cannot deny the greatness of LeBron James, I question Commissioner David Stern’s involvement in the finals. I am not saying that it is anything like the Black Sox scandal, but I do believe that Stern had some influence on the outcome.
Everyone knows that Commissioner Stern holds a lot of power. He can stop player trades and team moves. Right before the 2012 season was about to start, Stern vetoed a trade that would have allowed Chris Paul to join the Lakers and Pau Gasol to move to the Rockets. Just recently, Stern blocked the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle.
But why would Stern want the Heat to win? The Heat can sell merchandise. And how did Stern influence the finals? He allowed Joey Crawford to referee.
Joey Crawford and Tim Duncan are known nemeses. In 2007, Crawford ejected Duncan for laughing while on the bench. Allegedly, Crawford asked Duncan if he wanted to fight, and Duncan yelled an expletive at Crawford. Duncan was fined $25,000, but Crawford was suspended after the incident. A photo was leaked last year that showed Tim Duncan and Tony Parker pointing guns at a Crawford look-a-like during a Halloween party. With all this known tension between the referee and the Spurs, why did Stern allow Crawford to referee Games 2 and 6?
Simply put, the Heat can sell more than the Spurs. The Spurs are known for their quiet and introverted behavior, while the Heat are much louder and more extroverted. LeBron loves and thrives on the attention that he gets. He is always doing interviews or shooting commercials. Therefore, it is no surprise that LeBron has the second best-selling jersey in the league. Overall, the Heat ranks second in selling the most team merchandise, and the Spurs rank in ninth. But when have you seen Duncan in a commercial? Never. Honestly, I do not even remember what Duncan’s voice sounds like. How can Stern expect the Spurs to sell merchandise to fans across the world if their star players rarely ever talk?
I truly believe that both the Heat and the Spurs are incredibly talented and that the series could have gone either way. Therefore, I wonder what tipped the scale in favor of the Heat. Was it the Big Three's talent or Stern’s help? The world may never know.