Former NBA commissioner David Stern has been credited for making the NBA a global powerhouse. After he retired in 2014, Stern left the league with a massive television deal. However, Stern was also instrumental in some controversial decisions during his time. Gilbert Arenas and Kenyon Martin discussed what could have been done better on the No Chill Gil podcast.
Kenyon Martin likened David Stern’s suspensions to execution
Kenyon Martin guested on the No Chill Gil podcast, and Agent Zero opened up why he thinks the 50-game suspension handed to him by David Stern over the gun in locker room incident was too much.
“Gilbert Arenas: David Stern's hard suspension without any evidence. You know what I mean?
Kenyon Martin: Like execution
Gilbert Arenas: I really got angered by it. I really got angered personally because it was the same thing with me like you're suspending me 50 games for what?”
">No Chill Gil podcast
Arenas had every reason to feel disappointed with the decision. After all, it was supposed to be a prank. But for commissioner Stern, things could have ended badly. Arenas admitted the guns were his, hoping it would create some goodwill, a gesture he wasn’t forced to do and got reprimanded for it.
For David Stern, the issue was beyond gun ownership. Bringing guns to any workplace is prohibited, more so in Washington D.C., where gun laws are stricter.
"The issue here is not about the legal ownership and possession of guns, either in one's home or elsewhere. It is about possession of guns in the NBA workplace, which will not be tolerated. You will be dealt with harshly because it's very potentially dangerous to our players, to the other players and to anyone else who might be involved."
David Stern, ESPN
Per Gil, he lost endorsements because of the incident. It also tarnished his reputation. What angered him was the way Stern punished him. The commissioner told him to accept or fight, but his contract would be put on the line. As someone who played basketball for a living, Arenas had no choice but to accept things as they were.
David Stern labels Arenas “mentally unstable”
Agent Zero was painted as mentally unstable at that time by no other than David Stern. That was a comment that wasn't made by a medical professional, but by a lawyer.
"His ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game."
David Stern, BR
In hindsight, the decision might have been excessive. But at that time, Stern was looking to set things right so similar instances don’t happen again in the future. If such an incident occurred in the current NBA and the age of social media, the response from the public would have been worse.
For Arenas, it was a hard lesson to learn. For Stern, it would become one of the most controversial decisions he made as to the NBA commissioner.