In a quote pulled from Marc Spears’s article in the Denver Post over the weekend, Spears states, “Word is some refs aren't too fond of the new rule, either. Confident veteran refs will continue to call games the way they see fit. But with several refs having been fired in recent years, the young and middle-of-the-road refs are likely intimidated by big brother (i.e. Stern and NBA VP Stu Jackson). Expect the refs to give technicals easily and toss more stars.”
Taking these thoughts into consideration, and David Stern’s notoriously stubborn ways, I know that the policy is not going to be abandoned outright. However, what I could see happening is veteran officials disregarding Stern’s new rules and reassuring their crew that everything is going to be fine without them T-ing everybody up like suspensions at an elementary school food fight. When the likes of a Dick Bavetta, who by the way is my favorite referee of all time and owns the title of most games officiated, decides that the game is going to be called one way. That is the way the game is going to be called. Period.
Stern would have no choice, except for refereeing games himself, in this scenario. He is not God of basketball. He can tell people what can and can’t be worn on the sidelines, change the game ball for profits, and dish out fines on the regular. These are the powers that NBA Commissioner David Stern possesses. Contrarily to these seemingly omnipotent influences, Stern does not have the power to tell the likes of Dick Bavetta, and other senior officials, how to do their jobs. Some of these refs have been in the league longer than Stern himself, and if that kind of NBA historical hindsight doesn’t count for anything in Stern’s eyes than maybe he should just fire everybody and only hire drones that conform to his every desire!
But that’s the beauty of all of this, because Stern can’t just fire everybody. The NBA isn’t a dictatorship, and as we can now see with the now public opinion of some NBA referees. Stern’s power is not omnipotent. Technically speaking, (you knew I had to throw that in there), Stern will not get to have his cake and eat it too in this situation. He is the boss, but there is a limit on who he can boss around. And in this case, the men in charge of the game night-in and night-out are just that; Still in charge!