NEW ORLEANS — Adam Silver kicked off his first All-Star weekend as commissioner on Thursday, appearing at the NBA’s Jam Session theme-park-like setup at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to make a ceremonial opening statement of sorts to some children’s groups assembled at the event’s Center Court.
Silver won’t be addressing national and more NBA-specific media until Saturday night, but spent a few minutes with local media as David Stern used to in years past. Some of the more interesting answers he gave are as follows:
On the decision to select the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis as an injury replacement to the All-Star team:
“It happened to be that the most deserving player out there happened to be a Pelicans player,” Silver said. “So it worked out really well.”
On what stands out to him about the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis:
“First of all, just physically, obviously he’s really filled out since he first came into the league, and he’s just such an incredibly skilled player,” Silver said. “And he’s a leader. As a great player once told me, championships are won on the bus. And so you need to have the character to be a great player as well, and that’s the kind of character Anthony Davis has.”
On the importance to the league of the city of New Orleans:
“So much credit goes to David Stern and his vision,” Silver said. “I think always throughout his commissionership he said cities that are loyal to the NBA deserve the NBA’s loyalty in return. And New Orleans was one of those cities. It’s been a great experience here for the NBA. We had some rocky times here but the Benson family stepped up to keep the team here, and it means so much to us. It’s a core point of this league to be in New Orleans, to have a team here. We’re excited about the new name of the franchise, and the new ownership is doing a fantastic job.”
On whether or not the league would consider a United States vs. the World format for a future All-Star game:
“We like what we have,” Silver said. “We’ve thought about other formats, and we want it to be a fun weekend. The players are under a lot of pressure and it’s a long season, so we don’t want to put them in a position where the competition is too intense. We want them to have fun at the same time, and I’m not sure that the U.S. versus the rest of the world makes the most sense.”
And most importantly, with Friday being Valentine’s Day, Silver was asked what was the most romantic thing he has planned.
“Actually, my girlfriend is flying in [Friday] morning,” he said. “That’s all I’m saying.”