Alright, it's last minute, it's deathly early on the West Coast... it's time for a live blog of David Stern's press conference about Tim Donaghy!
Judging by the webcast I'm viewing, it will start momentarily.
Wonder if that front row is reserved for, say, Murray Weiss of the New York Post.
If Jim Gray gets up and starts singing Lady in Red, I'm outta here.
Is Lady in Red reading The Post? Must work for one of the 10,000 media outlets which improbably got scooped on this story. Seriously, how does the New York Post get this story before The Times or ESPN?
David Stern WILL HAVE SILENCE!
Apparently Diddy hasn't woken up yet. Too bad, I'd love to hear what he has to say about Stern's tie. (I hear Ian Thomsen is also curious.)
(The rest is after the jump.)
The production value of NBA press conferences is amazing. Look at those fades and sweeps! Someone in the league's control room has a future in soft porn.
That security company Stern just mentioned... sell that stock. Yeesh.
Wow, the NBA has three layers of auditing with regards to referee performance. Can you imagine what kind of fun is in the Phoenix-San Antonio Game 3 paper trail?
I think Stern's eyes just turned red when he mentioned Donaghy's name. We have a new consensus top choice in the 'Who Sent the Death Threats?' pool.
The news so far: the league investigated his neighborly dispute, told him to knock it off, investigated his rumored gambling problem, turned up nothing, he ranks in the 'top tier' for accuracy among refs, the league first heard about the FBI investigation on June 20, met with the feds on June 21.
Stern confirms all the previous reports concerning the investigation: the feds think he bet on games he worked, and also possibly other games. Stern doesn't know the amount of games nor which games. He said he has been restrained in searching this information out due to FBI requests not to talk to anyone, even internally.
Donaghy quit before he got fired. A true tough-guy move.
Donaghy worked four preseason games the past two seasons. Dammit! I knew Ronnie Price got screwed last October in Fresno... Jose Juan Barea clearly hacked him.
Stern: "This is an isolated incident." He said no one else in the league is under investigation.
Stern is getting ready to take questions. This is where he can shine, cracking jokes and charming the pants off the basketball world. Cross your fingers.
Stern says the NBA will spare no cost in getting back the fans' trust.
I think the Commish just compared Donaghy to the Taliban. Something about 'turning on your country.' Wait, he's not shipping Donaghy to Gitmo, is he?
Rachel Nichols of ESPN wants to know if Stern cried when he found out. Killing machines DO NOT CRY. Didn't she get the memo from John Clayton? Stern dodges by announcing everyone's invited to the 'NBA Family Picnic.' I hear Pops Mensah-Bonsu makes a killer potato salad.
Which producer does Liz Robbins have to pay off to get some screen time? That crafty Rachel Nichols is a camera hog.
As a longtime NBA fan, I'm unaware of this 'covenant with the fans' Stern keeps mentioning. I'd like to hang it in my sitting room, but I never received one. I wish Chris Sheridan would ask how fans can alert the NBA they never received their covenant. I feel like I can't trust the NBA until I have it in my hands.
Stern: "I feel betrayed on behalf of the sport."
This CBS dude asks how Stern feels about the death threats made to Donaghy. Come on, people... 2+2=4. You don't need the Commish's phone records to figure it out...
David Stern has no patience for punk journalists who can't even put on a damn polo for a press conference. His first smackdown victim lies in his wake.
There he is, that cattily hilarious commissioner we know and love. (He's poking at Armen Keteyan's phrasing.) Unfortunately, the FBI shackles are restraining him quite a bit. Down with government.
Phil Jasper of the Philadelphia Daily News brings the heat with a 'Joey Crawford fisticuffs' question. Stern said that, plus the other stories about Donaghy's short fuse, was enough to warn him (and pull him off some playoff work) but not enough to sack him.
Only Stern can quote himself from an interview six months ago to refute a particularly tricky question. (He asserts he was taken out of context in a Las Vegas interview from the All-Star Weekend, an interview no one remembers but some newspaper researcher dug up. Yes, I'm a Stern fanboy.)
My connection's gone wonky, so this is it. My reaction, in short: Stern wasn't himself, but he said what needed to be said at this point. His aura of assurance allows us to believe him, I think, when he asserts the NBA didn't know until late June. That was the most nuclear accusation volleyed at the league -- that it knew but let Donaghy work nonetheless. I think we all, though upset to various degrees, understand crap happens. One bad cabbage and all that noise. But to be assured this is a singular problem, that this is a crisis but not a pandemic... that's what we needed. Call me doe-eyed, but I think the worst is behind the league. The damage is great, but repair is possible. Our NBA will survive.