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Copyright (c) 2010 DePaul University
 DePaul Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems

ARTICLE: WHY SO STERN?: THE GROWING POWER OF THE NBA COMMISSIONER

Fall, 2010

DePaul Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems

7 DePaul J. Sports L. Contemp. Probs. 45

Author

Michael R. Wilson*

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Former National Basketball Association ("NBA") player Dennis Rodman was a source of controversy throughout his career and received significant attention from NBA commissioner David Stern. In 1997, Stern qualified his authority to punish Rodman and NBA players generally, stating "I want to make it clear that I'm not going to punish [Rodman] for what he does off the court. I'm going to let the media crucify him for that. . .This is still America, and my jurisdiction is still the basketball court." 1

Despite this statement, David Stern has enjoyed expansive disciplinary authority that extends beyond the basketball court, micromanaging virtually all player conduct so long as it is related to a player's employment with the NBA. During his tenure, Stern has installed wide-ranging rules governing conduct by players, coaches, and team officials, restricting what these individuals may say, wear, and do. While Stern justifies these rules as vital to protect the integrity and image of the league, many have criticized his decisions as paternalistic intrusions into the lives of these professional athletes. Even further, others have questioned whether he has exceeded his authority. Stern's use of power is arguably unmatched by the commissioners of any of the other three major sports leagues in the United States. 2

Part II of this paper will analyze the authority of the NBA commissioner, viewed in light of the powers of the commissioners in the three other major sports leagues. It will also ...
 
 
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