It Isn't Easy Being the Commish

DJS: Yeah, I heard that whole argument about not allowing the players to be creative and how I'm handcuffing their right to expression ... whatever. I got tired of the whining. Seriously. The league was beginning to look like a bunch of wusses, 300 Adam Morrisons with three seconds left on the clock. It was bad enough that my league was being painted as a collection of overpaid pampered thugs.

Q: The crackdown on the clubs. Now, even you have to admit that you may be going too far with this one.

DJS: Look man, I can't afford to have that type of drama in my league. The NFL can skate on situations like that. A Ray Lewis situation can happen and it doesn't affect the NFL, a Tank Johnson situation can happen and it doesn't affect the NFL, every player on the Cincinnati Bengals can get arrested and it doesn't affect the NFL. But with the NBA, if one of our players runs a stoplight ...

Q: Or throws a punch in a game ...

DJS: Exactly! You feel me? So when the incident that got Darrent Williams shot, in the same city where Julius Hodge of the Nuggets got shot a year before, I was like, "OK, David J, time to get drastic." So no, I don't think I'm going too far. I'm just being preventive. Try'na stop something before it might start. Just like the rationale Bush used to invade Iraq but with more concrete evidence.

Q: So, DJS ...

DJS: I'm tellin' you man, it's Mister, like Allen Iverson's little brother.

Q: My bad, Mr. DJS, in the Wall Street Journal interview you said "Welcome to my world." Explain that.

DJS: My world is different. Almost impossible for anyone to understand. It's split in two. It's almost like a double life I lead. I have to keep players like LeBron James happy and at the same time look out for the best interests of people like the Maloofs in Las Vegas – excuse me, Sacramento; that was a slip, don't print that – and Glen Taylor in Minnesota. I can't be too corporate because then the players don't think I have their best interests at heart, and I have to act like I hate the players' lifestyle or the owners won't think that I'm not working on their behalf and don't have their backs. I have to satisfy multi-million dollar companies with the product I put on the floor but at the same time I have to embrace the street cred of that product so I don't lose the kid in Inglewood or South Philly whose only connection to life outside the hood is through the NBA. I have to worry about what hairstyles Chris Kaman and Ron Artest are going to come with next. And in between all of that people still believe every playoff game is fixed. That I have a hand in who's going to win, that I control the outcome. You all don't understand. I wouldn't wish my life on anyone. Not even Mark Cuban.

Scoop Jackson is a columnist for Page 2 and a contributor to ESPN The Magazine. He'll also be the host of ESPN Original Entertainment's "NBA Live: Bring It Home" which debuts on Feb. 11.

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