David Stern understands having a gun to protect your home. He's
not convinced carrying one on the streets makes you any safer.
For that reason, the NBA commissioner said Wednesday that he
would prefer his players leave their firearms behind when they go
"It's a pretty, I think, widely accepted statistic that if you
carry a gun, your chances of being shot by one increase
dramatically," Stern said during his preseason conference call. "We
think this is an alarming subject, that although you'll read
players saying how they feel safer with guns, in fact those guns
actually make them less safe. And it's a real issue."
It's one that was raised recently when Indiana's Stephen Jackson
shot a gun in the air at least five times outside an Indianapolis
strip club on Oct. 6. He originally told police he fired in
self-defense during a fight in which he was hit by a car.
The NBA's collective bargaining agreement allows players to own
licensed guns, but they can't carry them on any league or team
business. Asked what kind of firearm rule he would want if
collective bargaining weren't involved, Stern said: "I would favor
being able to have a firearm to protect your home. Period."
He added that walking the streets carrying guns was "dangerous
for our players," but said there has been no further discussion
with the union about strengthening the policy.
Union spokesman Dan Wasserman said it already was bolstered in
last year's agreement, at the request of the league.
"In response to issues raised by the NBA during bargaining last
year," he said, "a provision was added to the collective bargaining
agreement that subjects the players to discipline if they bring any
kind of firearm, even if it's licensed, to an NBA arena, practice
facility, or even a team or league offsite promotional
Wasserman also said that the dangers of firearms are discussed
during the rookie transition program, where players are "informed
of the legalities of it, what you can or can't do, and the pros of
cons of having a weapon are discussed extensively."
With the start of the season less than a week away, Stern also
addressed the arena situation in Sacramento. The city's residents
will be asked to approve two ballot measures on Nov. 7 that would
increase local sales tax as part of the Kings' quest to replace
Arco Arena with a new downtown building.
The measures are considered long-shots to pass, and Stern seems
to understand why after claiming that a deal between the city and
the developer hasn't been finalized.
"In the absence of a deal between the city and a developer, I
don't know what any fair-minded citizen of Sacramento is being
asked to vote on," he said. "I would love to see them support an
arena development, but I would tell them that they better make sure
that the city gets with it to see whether the deal can in fact be
done. Right now there is no deal anyplace."
Also, Stern said he expected to rule on Larry Brown's grievance
with the Knicks sometime during the second week of the season. The
Knicks refused to pay the remainder of Brown's contract after
firing him one year into a five-year deal.
(AP October 26, 2006)