Adam Silver held his annual NBA All-Star weekend presser touching on hot topics affecting the OKC Thunder and their peers including the renamed All-Star MVP award in Kobe Bryant’s honor.
As is typical at the NBA All-Star weekend the Commissioner, Adam Silver held his annual press conference. The Commish covered several hot topics of which affect the OKC Thunder and all 30 teams in the Association.
The biggest news of the day is the Association has decided to rename the All-Star Game MVP award after Kobe Bryant to honor the recently passed star. Bryant appeared in 18 consecutive All-Star Games and won the MVP award four times (sharing it once with Shaquille O’Neal).
The specific title is the Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Clearly, if the sponsor (KIA) changes that part of the name will change too.
During the question portion of the presser, he was asked how the league came to the decision to play any games the day of Bryant died and the subsequent cancellation of the Lakers-Clippers game.
He detailed the series of events that occurred including a discussion with OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul who is the current President of the Players Association and with a contact in the Bryant family. Each to some degree provided input on games proceeding while the Lakers-Clippers game ultimately was based on the Lakers’ decision.
Silver also spent a great portion of his presser discussing and paying tribute to his former boss David Stern who he eventually replaced in the role of NBA Commissioner. Silver noted the brain trust is still discussing how the league can properly honor Stern and no doubt something will be named in his honor eventually.
All season we’ve heard how viewership is down and that the salary cap would take a hit which is partially tied to the relationship with the league and China.
This after Daryl Morey’s untimely tweet offering his political opinion over protestors in Hong Kong who support democracy. The irony, of course, is the one team that benefited the most from Chinese sponsorship and support was the Houston Rockets who likely took the largest personal hit.
Asked if it was true the league had lost over a billion dollars due to games not being aired and Asian sponsors pulling their support the Commish stated it was closer to $400 million but added he felt confident the NBA and China were working toward reconciliation of their working relationship.
Silver also spoke in his opening remarks about the corona virus which is ravaging the area and how the NBA is working toward offering their support as the league typically does during tragedies around the globe.
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Typically the NBA would play games in China in the preseason and with the Olympics in Toyko, this year also play some pre-Olympic exhibition games. Silver couldn’t confirm this would occur this summer or fall given the current strain in the relationship.
Obviously, these types of games take a lot of pre-planning so until the situation is resolved it’s unlikely any games will occur in China.
As for the midseason tournament, Silver has championed this tourney from the beginning and is it’s strongest supporter. He stated the league is still figuring out the semantics of such a tournament and he believes it will happen.
The commissioner said the league wanted to avoid a one-off of the event and therefore a vote has been held off for now.
Rather, the event would take place over a period of years to allow the league to iron out all the kinks in the program. Therefore, until Silver and the partners are satisfied they’ve figured out all the semantics of running the play in format and tournament design it won’t be presented for a vote.
Although many players and teams are still against this tournament happening it seems Silver is determined which means fans should expect it’s going to occur eventually.
Finally, the Commissioner spoke glowingly about the growth of basketball in Africa citing the Basketball Africa League which will begin playing March 13th.
The final event of the NBA 2020 All-Star weekend occurs tonight when Team LeBron takes on Team Giannis.