No, I’m not talking about the old-school Metallica song when I ask: Is David Stern the master of puppets? Many people who follow the NBA live and breathe conspiracy theories: teams with star players are supposed to win, the refs protect star players, the refs and the league join forces to secure predetermined outcomes … yadda, yadda, yadda. I could write forever on all of the conspiracy theories.
In this year’s playoffs, the conspiracy theorists believe the NBA has already decided which two teams should be in the 2009 NBA Finals. Obviously, the two teams that are supposed to play in the Finals are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James and the Lakers have Kobe Bryant.
Isn’t that what NBA Commissioner David Stern wants? Doesn’t the commish want to see his two biggest stars playing on the league’s biggest stage for pro basketball’s greatest prize? The devoted conspiracy theorists certainly believe that is the case.
But, two problems exist for what many people feel is Stern’s dream NBA Finals showdown: (1) the Orlando Magic and (2) the Denver Nuggets. Many of the conspiracy theorists tend to believe that Stern is loving sleep and increasing the amount of white hair on his head with thoughts of Denver and Orlando locking horns in the NBA Finals – rather than having LeBron and Kobe going at it on center stage … for real … not as puppets in well-done Nike commercials.
Right now, it’s not looking good for conspiracy theorists: LeBron’s Cavaliers are on the brink of elimination (entering Thursday night’s game) and the Lakers (feeling better than Cleveland) are clinging to a 3-2 series lead heading back to Denver for Game 6.
We’ll see if David Stern is the master of puppets, as so many conspiracy theorists think, or if (at least in this case) the players truly control their own destiny.