NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has drawn praise from all quarters for his banning L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life over recorded racial comments that were leaked to the media. But what about Silver's predecessor, David Stern, who ran the NBA from 1984 until this year?
Showing an admirable 21st century desire to recycle, David Letterman repurposed an appearance by Stern on his "Late Show" from earlier this year to make it appear as though the former commissioner was delivering some cryptic words of wisdom.
"Give us a little insight," Letterman said after Stern appeared to walk out onto the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. "You were commissioner of this league and you took it from one level to a huge, global commercial entity. In all those 30 years, tell us what you learned about the culture of basketball in America."
Stern's response: "Moisten needle before inserting." (Yes, it was a punch line from the Top Ten list he had delivered during his previous appearance.)
And then, to add an extra-surreal layer to the proceedings, Stern appeared to walked off the stage backward, like a Black Lodge inhabitant in David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," or, as indeed was the case, a tape that had been rewound.
No surprise, Stern's advice is dead-on when it comes to blowing up a basketball.
The skit on Wednesday night was a continuation of a gag Letterman did on Tuesday night, when he used another clip from Stern's Top Ten appearance to question why Stern did not act against Sterling during his time as commissioner. Once again, a Top Ten list response, "I'm the only guy in the league who was bar mitzvah'ed" was used.
Will Letterman keep this up through the rest of the week? A Top Ten list means there are eight more possible responses he could use.
[For the Record, 10:15 a.m. PDT May 1: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Stern appeared on "Late Show" on Wednesday night. The show actually ran a one-line clip from an appearance he made on the show earlier this year.]Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times