Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s “Real Sports” lashed out at NBA Commissioner David Stern for his treatment of players during the league’s ongoing lockout.
According to NBC New York, Gumbel spoke out against Stern during the closing commentary of the Oct. 18 show, blaming Stern for the NBA’s current woes.
The league’s lockout has stretched on for more than 100 days, causing the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season and threatening to derail the entire year.
“The NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seems more hell-bent lately on demeaning the players than solving his game’s labor impasse,” Gumbel said on the show. “Stern’s version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys.”
Shaun Powell, commentator for ESPNNewYork.com, criticized Gumbel’s claims, saying Stern is the “the last person” that should be given such a label.
“So let’s get this straight: The only commissioner in sports who constantly pushed for and finally secured Black ownership within his league is somehow linked to a slave master?” Powell wrote. “David Stern, who made more Black men rich than anyone in history, lives in the Big House?”
Gumbel has a history of stirring up controversy. In 2006, he made headlines when he criticized a lack of diversity at the Winter Olympics.
“Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention,” he said.