Nearly seven months ago, David Stern likely wouldn’t have been able to walk through New Orleans without having someone spit at him, yell at him or call him names we can’t reprint.
After all, he had just nixed a trade that, on the surface and in the short-term, would have been better for the Hornets.
But today, in the waning hours of June, Stern should be hailed as a hero in these parts.
The Hornets of today are in New Orleans and on the upswing because of him.
Few people have been as staunch a supporter of the city of New Orleans as Stern in this post-Katrina world.
He all but forced them back to the city after the storm, believing in New Orleans as an NBA city.
And then he handed the community an All-Star game, one of the most successful mid-season weekends in league history.
In 2010, when then-owner George Shinn wanted to sell the team, Stern convinced the NBA’s owners to purchase the Hornets when the franchise could have been sold easily to someone who would move the team.
Then in December, he vetoed that trade that involved the Lakers and players who could have helped the Hornets immediately. Instead, New Orleans shipped Chris Paul to the Clippers in return for what turned into the No. 10 pick Thursday night. Today, however, Stern’s vision has paid off.
The Hornets are in New Orleans permanently, sold to Tom Benson along with a long-term Arena lease.
And the two players New Orleans picked up Thursday night should help deliver a winning package for years to come.
So while Stern earned nothing but boos in New Jersey’s Prudential Center, comically playing them up at one point, he should get nothing but applause on the bayou.
The Hornets picked up the consensus No. 1 pick in Anthony Davis. They got an explosive guard who some think could be a future star. And Darius Miller, a small forward they took at No. 46, will help beef up the frontcourt.
Three young players, all who should be able to contribute to what will likely be playoff pushes for the foreseeable future.
Thanks to Stern’s vision, that’s a sentence that won’t make people laugh anymore.