Every year, the NBA Draft is David Stern's moment. His voice has become iconic in announcing the names of the new NBA players walking across the stage to shake his hand and get their official welcome to the league.
The 2013 Draft is the last time Stern will perform that ritual, which has become the raucous, cathartic outlet for fan bases of all 30 teams who feel Stern somehow prevents their team from winning (or makes the task all the more difficult). So it was with sarcastic — or maybe appreciative — applause that Stern called out Nemanja Nedovic as the final name he would read at the NBA Draft. Stern will retire as commissioner on Feb. 1.
His successor, current Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, had a surprise for Stern as he walked off the Draft stage for the final time:
Thirty years ago, it was Hakeem Olajuwon becoming the first player who David Stern announced as the top pick in the Draft, complete with that similar red bowtie. And now, with his final pick, he was reunited with the Rockets all-time great center. It was a fitting end to an annual rite of passage.
The night was a fun one for Stern. He egged the crowd on all night as they traditionally booed him, asking them to boo louder and chiding them for lackluster effort using his trademark sarcasm and wit.
Like Nixon, NBA fans will not have old Stern to kick around any more.
Fortunately, the fans immediately turned on Adam Silver and rained in a chorus of boos when he made his first announcement of the second round. Some things will never change.