斯特恩在冲突中为球队老板代言毕竟是他应尽的本份。但这位NBA总裁（他拒绝接受本文作者采访）在引导这次谈判期间犯了几个重大错误。路易斯安那州立大学（Louisiana State University）运动学系的体育管理专家乍得•塞弗里德认为，这些失误令人遗憾。“因为人们说起大卫•斯特恩的遗产，肯定认为他是职业体育史上最伟大的总裁之一，”他说。
When a bunch of millionaires get together to complain about what seems like marginal shifts in income, no one looks pretty. This month's case in point: the latest scuffle between the NBA's players association and the teams' owners.
The negotiations have actually been rumbling for about two-and-a-half years. Owners have been trying to figure out how to make their teams more profitable -- they say some are losing money. The two sides have ping-ponged over how to split revenue and other financial details. Last Monday, the players, represented by their lawyers, refused to accept an agreement put forth by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who represents the league's team owners. Among other sticking points, the two sides disagreed about how to allocate players' pay. Owners want tougher rules on salary caps; players, of course, don't.
The roadblock has sparked both players and owners to take legal action that could ensnare the NBA in litigation and sink the 2011-2012 season. The players already missed their first paycheck last week, and they will keep losing money with every missed match. The owners lose money on lost games too, but many want to hold out for an agreement that will better protect the profitability of their franchises.
Even though there are plenty of angry wealthy people involved, one person stands out as the poster child for the lockout. For this one, says University of Minnesota sports management professor Stephen Ross, "The fall guy is going to end up being David Stern."
It is, after all, Stern's job to speak for the owners during a conflict. But the commissioner, who declined to comment for this story, has made key mistakes while steering this discussion. That's too bad, according to Chad Seifried, a sports management expert at Louisiana State University's kinesiology department. "If you think about David Stern's legacy, he's certainly known as one of the great commissioners that we've had in professional sports," he says.
Stern has served as commissioner for close to 30 years and has overseen major changes at the league. Last year, the NBA generated almost $4 billion in basketball-related income, a twenty-fold increase since Stern took over as commissioner in 1984. Yet, it's hard to keep a healthy running dialogue with players for that long, and Stern has antagonized many, leading up to the current stalemate. Hard feelings about this lockout, Seifried says, could tarnish Stern's career.