Did I miss something tonight or did Orland Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy compare NBA Commissioner David Stern to Middle East tyrants like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi?
In a pregame interview with reporters, captured by the Orlando Sentinel video below, Van Gundy was his candid self when talking about star center Dwight Howard’s one-game suspension against Portland – a game the Magic ended up losing 89-85.
“This is the system. David Stern and his minions like it,” Van Gundy said. “… I certainly can’t have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot of leaders we’ve seen in this world lately, don’t really tolerate other people’s opinions, or free speech, or anything. I’m not really allowed to have an opinion.”
While Van Gundy didn’t name names with the above quote, he might as well have, even if wiggled out of the follow-up questions suggesting he was making comparisons to the Middle East tyrants.
But it was clear what Van Gundy was getting at, and you can bet his pocketbook will get it as well.
“(Stern) doesn’t tolerate freedom of speech when it comes to NBA issues,” Van Gundy concluded. “He’s the only opinion.”
Opinion or not, it’s clear there has been a double standard for Howard this season. The same double standard that plagued Shaquille O’Neal through much of his career.
In fact, Van Gundy pointed out that Howard has been fouled almost 600 times this season, and not one of those fouls was called a flagrant.
“(Stern) thinks that, you know, Dwight should sit out tonight and the 20,000 people shouldn’t see him,” Van Gundy added. “It’s his call. He likes the system.”
While it’s not his place to inject his opinion, we’re guessing Van Gundy doesn’t like that system. It’ll be interesting to see what Stern’s response is to the above comments and if the NBA addresses the flagrant situation in the offseason, because it’s obviously becoming an issue the NBA can ignore no longer.