With all of the talk about tampering in the NBA recently, it makes you wonder just how much the NBA itself has tampered in its own league. It’s not always just teams and players that stick their noses where they don’t belong. Sometimes, it’s the league office.
So, yes, players and teams do tamper sometimes, and they should be reprimanded for it (more on that later).
But what about the NBA itself? Is Adam Silver and the rest of the main office exempt from such criticism?
They shouldn’t be.
Let’s break down a few instances where the NBA tampered just as much—if not more—than players:
3. The Collared Shirt Rule
Back in 2005, David Stern made it a league rule that NBA players must wear collared shirts to games, an obvious response to guys like Allen Iverson who would frequently show up in baggy sweats. The actual terminology was that players must wear “business casual attire.”
How did that work out for you, David?
First and foremost, Iverson’s dress style was great. It fit with the times and wasn’t too flashy. You couldn’t get more casual than Iverson, who would wear baggy shirts and sweat pants pregame.
Second, are you going to sit there with a straight face and tell me that the pregame outfits of guys like Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are any better?
But, hey, they wore collared shirts, so it was all good!
Come on now. Can we please go back to the days of oversized clothes?
2. The Lakers’ Chris Paul Trade
Before the start of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers were all set to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets before Stern stepped in and vetoed the deal.
Remember: the Hornets did not have any real ownership at that time, so Stern assumed control of the team, which was a bit controversial in and of itself.
The three-way trade would have sent Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round draft pick to New Orleans.
But Stern squashed it, preventing what would have been a trio of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Paul on the Lakers. Paul was then dealt to the the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was an unprecedented move by Stern, and one that likely would have not happened had he not been the acting owner for the New Orleans franchise at the time.
Still, it was obvious that Stern was just standing in and did not actually own the Hornets, which made many question how he had the right to veto such a trade, especially when plenty of worse deals had happened over the course of NBA history.
Now, no one really knows just how good that Lakers team would have been, as Bryant would go on to tear his Achilles the following year, and Los Angeles lacked depth overall in general.
So, Kobe and CP3 probably would not have had a very sustainable run together.
But that’s besides the point. The problem is that Stern stopped the trade from happening, which is something that should not have occurred.
1. Fining Anthony Davis
Upon asking for a trade from the Pelicans, Anthony Davis was fined $50,000 by the NBA for making the demand public. Here is my issue: why is Davis getting fined for asking for a trade, but LeBron gets let off the hook for constantly campaigning for players?
It’s funny how that works.
It is blatantly obvious that James had been tampering in the Davis trade talks between the Lakers and Pelicans right up until the deadline, but for some reason, the NBA decided to ignore it and just fine Davis.
LeBron and Davis both have the same agent in Rich Paul, and based on all of the leaks that came out which also attempted to sabotage other teams such as the Boston Celtics, it’s clear as day that James and Paul were tampering.
Yet, that’s okay.
It just further illustrates fans’ points about preferential treatment in the NBA, with some players getting a much longer leash than others. Sure, Davis is an All-Star and an NBA superstar, but he does not have nearly the profile that James does, so he can’t get away with as much.
Am I saying LeBron should be fined? No, but I’m saying either fine both Davis and James or don’t fine either player. You can’t have it both ways, NBA.