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posted: 7/2/2013 5:35 AM

Longing for the good ol' days of sports

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  • NBA Commissioner David Stern, here presiding over the NBA draft on Thursday, will officially step down next February after 30 years of running the league.

      NBA Commissioner David Stern, here presiding over the NBA draft on Thursday, will officially step down next February after 30 years of running the league.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

I remember reading the sports section and watching ESPN on TV to hear about the games. The reports were about players who were getting it done, teams who were performing well or a player with a hitting streak.

In the early '90s, the talk on sports radio was about the play on the field, maybe the strategic moves a manager made or the running back who was coming back from injury.

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Man, those were the days.

Oh sure, we still talk and hear about what's happening on the field of play, but more and more it's changing to the sideshows that capture everyone's attention and focus. Now it's like a circus -- all the drama and the soap opera off the field are mind boggling.

From covering Penn State's troubles with Jerry Sandusky to Aaron Hernandez's recent murder charge, every sports talker needs a legal expert on their payroll to wade through the mess.

I believe it started to change around '95 or '96 with the steroid situation when there was a shift to off-the-field activities being more relevant than on-the-field events.

From NCAA recruiting violations with Chip Kelly at Oregon to the Dallas Cowboys' Josh Brent driving drunk and his involvement in a deadly accident, it seems like there is bad news to cover in sports almost daily.

And if not, stick around, because one will come soon.

I want to hear, "no runs, no hits, no errors," but instead I hear about murder, scandal and a pedophile.

Let's see if we can go a week without something bad happening away from the field of play. I don't think I'd take that bet.

Nice job, Commish:

I had the good fortune to interview NBA Commissioner David Stern many times over the years, and I'll be the first to say I'll miss him when he retires in February.

The league was in trouble when Stern came into power 30 years ago, and except for a few hiccups the NBA has dominated as a well-run league in the professional world. The players and owners made money and Stern managed to make that happen by increasing the fan base globally and marketing the league with its superstars.

The NFL, with its multitude of issues, is going through what the NBA was experiencing when Stern took over.

The fans booed Stern in Brooklyn on draft night last Thursday, and he handled it with good humor and grace. When he leaves, he will be difficult to replace.

I used to call him the "Louis B. Mayer" of commissioners. In this day of high salaries and 24/7 news, Stern has proved his worth.

Great job Mr. Commish. Well done.

Program note:

Catch me filling in this week on Fox sports radio XM 247, iHeart radio and foxsportsradio.com on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 2-6 p.m. along with my regular shifts on Saturday (6-9 p.m.) and Sunday (9 p.m. to midnight). Happy Fourth!

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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