Every-thing sports

Jermaine Every: Adam Silver is the best commissioner in pro sports

Jermaine Every: Adam Silver is the best commissioner in pro sports
Adam Silver is a commissioner who gets it. NBA.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets it. There’s no other way to put it. People can come up with other fancy ten dollar words and phrases to describe what he’s done and continues to do if they feel so led. But simply stated “gets it” does the job as efficient as Silver himself.

I was enjoying the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities on television this past weekend with my family. Throughout that time, there is a core group of guys I consider hardcore basketball fans that I will keep in contact with to discuss the goings on. One of them is Gow Media’s own Raheel Ramzanali.

Raheel and I go back to the early days of 1560 when he worked there and I interned. We both love basketball and he can actually play pretty well, so don’t let him hustle you if you ever get the chance to play him. One of the things that came up was the fact that Silver has his hand on the pulse of how to keep the league fresh and interesting to its ever-changing audience, while still honoring the game’s history and traditions.

In one of his many public addresses this past weekend, Silver hinted at a revamped playoff format. His idea is to keep the top eight teams from each conference that qualify, but re-seed them one through sixteen, regardless of conference, so we get the best two teams to meet in the Finals every year. Brilliant idea! While he’s honoring the tradition of the top eight teams from each conference, he’s also shuffling the deck to ensure we get better matchups in the playoffs. The only drawback would be travel. Silver mentioned potential matchups of teams in the first couple rounds that could present travel nightmares. Imagine if the Golden State Warriors played the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, which carries a 2-2-1-1-1 seven-game format? He acknowledged the potential travel issue, but said the league is committed at working on a solution.

Another progressive sign of Silver’s influence is the way the league embraces culture. The Rising Stars Challenge was revamped in 2015 to its current Team USA versus Team World to honor the diversity of the up and coming players. No longer does it use the tired old East versus West format. Also gone is the legends “coaching” opposing teams of their choosing, which kept some of the spotlight on them, and not the young talent. Silver also understands what’s appealing to the younger audience as evidenced by the musical performances over All-Star Weekend. Some had a political overtone; others were populated by rap music and twerking dancers (my personal favorite). Either way, it showed the commissioner knows he has to appeal to a broader spectrum.

Silver has also been at the forefront of the gambling issue by seeking legalization of sports gambling. He took office as commissioner on February 1, 2014. On November 13 of that same year, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about legalizing sports betting. This is a clear 180 degree flip from what major pro sports in this country have stood for. The NBA is also reportedly seeking a one percent fee on every legal bet on its games should sports betting become legal. Two of Silver’s quotes that have stuck out to me on this subject that gives insight to his mindset are “It’s good for business, I don’t want to hide from that” and “I’m not pro sports gambling. I’m just a realist.” Major League Baseball considers gambling so taboo that it has banned one of its greatest players, Pete Rose, due to gambling, and still hasn’t placed him in its Hall of Fame. The National Football League endorses fantasy football, yet won’t fully endorse sports betting. Silver on the other hand knows what kind of revenue stream it can be and has looked into making it safe for those who wish to place bets, as well as protecting the integrity of the game.

While he may look like Judge Doom, his actions are more consistent with a man of the people. He hasn’t tried to disparage his predecessor, or anything he had done. Yet he’s embraced change with a progressive outlook to the future, all the while continuing to honor the game’s past. This was particularly evident in one of the performances over the weekend in which there were several current stars speaking on the country’s current social climate. Towards the end of the song, Grant Hill came out with Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Whether it’s gambling, reformatting stale traditions, making sure the halftime entertainment is thicker than a snicker dancing to rap music, or improving league revenue, Silver is steadily proving himself to be the best commissioner in all of pro sports.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
The Astros are back in action Friday night against Seattle. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros were a season low 12 games under .500 (12-24) on May 8th but were able to turn things around and entered the All-Star break with a respectable 50-46 record.

The turnaround can be attributed to better performances on the field by a multitude of players, but there are still things that could be improved to ensure a successful second half of the season.

As it currently stands, Houston is only one game behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West division race, and the Astros should have key players returning from injury to further bolster their playoff ambitions.

The return of the King

Kyle Tucker has been on the injured list with a shin contusion for six weeks now, and looks to return in the near future.

The Astros have done surprisingly well without their three-time All-Star outfielder thanks to contributions from guys like Joey Loperfido, Jake Meyers and Marcio Dubon in the outfield. Plus, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yanier Diaz and Jeremy Pena carrying the offense while King Tuck is away.

Before getting hurt, the 27-year-old was hitting .266/.395/.584 through 60 games. Houston already has one of the best offenses in baseball, and adding Tucker back would give the Astros another high-quality bat to further bolster their lineup.

The latest update is Tucker has been playing catch and could start a rehab assignment soon if all goes well.

Fix the rotation

Starting pitching has been a major issue this season due to a multitude of injuries.

Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and J.P. France have all been lost for the year with various surgeries and guys like Justin Verlander and Luis Garcia are trying to work their way back from their injured list stints.

Garcia was recently pulled from his rehab assignment and won’t pitch again until he is ready. Meanwhile, Verlander could be closer to his return and is throwing bullpen sessions as of July 14. Getting both of these pitchers back at some point this season will be a huge boost to this roster.

The current Astros’ rotation consists of Framber Valdez, Ronel Blanco, Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss. Although not a bad rotation by any means, the starting pitching depth is getting pretty thin and Houston can ill afford another injury to their staff.

Astros general manager Dana Brown has been vocal about his desire to add starting pitching, and could have some options heading into the trade deadline. Players like Jack Flaherty, Garrett Crochet or Yusei Kikuchi, just to name a few, could be low risk high reward pitchers the Astros could acquire to add depth to their rotation.

Another option would be to call up A.J. Blubaugh from Sugar Land. The 24-year-old has a 6-2 record with a 3.46 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched this season for the Space Cowboys and could be a necessary depth piece to add to the rotation.

Play Astros baseball

The Astros have been playing better baseball as of late and have won 18 of their last 23 games. With players like Kyle Tucker and Justin Verlander potentially returning soon, there is reason to believe Houston can make the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season.

The 'Stros will try to take sole possession of first place in their division from the Mariners when the two teams meet for three games at T-Mobile Park starting on Friday night.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome