OPINON: Silver Adam’s Playbook

Dante Centofanti NEW Headshot

Dante Centofanti

To me, the American business world has always represented both the good and bad traits America has. The good ones being the growth one can have with individual capitalism, while the bad ones include greed and the lack of understanding around marginalized people. At the end of the day, professional sports in America are business corporations, whether we like it or not.

Right now, the NFL and NBA are the two most popular sports in America, with the NBA being a league swathed in praise and positives. Ever since Adam Silver took over as commissioner in February 2014, the NBA has been a league that recognizes diversity within its ranks and creativity in the promotion of its game. Silver wasted no time in setting a precedent, however, just as he was setting up his intercom system in his new office, the NBA was rocked by a major problem.

In April 2014, TMZ released a recording in which Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling uttered racist vitriol toward his mistress. This sparked outrage throughout the league, with many calling on Silver to make an example of Sterling. Silver handled the situation in the best way possible, announcing that he banned Donald Sterling from the league for life and demanded he sell the Clippers.

Since that incident, the NBA has been light-years ahead of every professional sports league in terms of inclusion, diversity and racial sensitivity. Players are free and encouraged to openly discuss controversial issues in America. From LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wearing shirts that said “I can’t breathe” during a shootaround to protest to the death of Eric Garner to Enes Kanter challenging the brutal government in his homeland of Turkey, NBA players are using their platform to speak up for the issues they believe in.

Silver understands something that not a lot of people in power do, if you treat your employees like people who have emotions and opinions, your business might run smoothly.

Per the reporting of ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, NFL owners have reached out to Silver at multiple points during his tenure as NBA commissioner to try to persuade him to jump ship to the NFL. When I heard this report, I had two main thoughts. One, I knew Silver would never in a million years take that job.

Second, I wondered why they reached out to Silver, of all people, since I think he’s everything that NFL owners despise. He supports the players in this league by treating them like human beings, and not livestock to make money, something that’s prevalent in the NFL.  

Yes, the NBA is the league of the people, and the NFL — as I have stated countless times — is not. Any professional sports league would be lucky to have a commissioner like Adam Silver. And as we near his five year anniversary of  being the NBA’s commissioner, I feel as if I needed to give him the praise he deserves.

Dante Centofanti is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].