NBA Commissioner David Stern will be in New Orleans on Wednesday to attend the New Orleans Hornets-Lakers game at the New Orleans Arena. In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, he talked about his relationship with owner Tom Benson, the Chris Paul for Eric Gordon trade and why he likes New Orleans so much and why he supported the Hornets remaining in the Crescent City.
It’s still early but do you have any concerns about attendance at the Arena?
You know, what you’re suffering from is the team that doesn’t quite have his identity together yet and is losing games. So the proposition for walk-up is not as compelling as it might otherwise had been, but I have no concerns. Putting together a winning streak, I’m sure your fans will be ready to go. Between Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, it’s easy to see that you had a lot of players who were figured for backup roles being forced up to starting. That’s a good thing because they get a chance to develop and show you what they have. We’re getting an opportunity to see all kinds of interesting players. I think in a normal course of events, I think you might have had the sixth man, the Rookie of the Year and lot of other things. Look at us we got all kind of teams that are having issues. Steve Nash for the Lakers, Andrew Bynum for the 76ers, Eric Gordon for the Hornets.
New message boards have been put up on each side of the Arena and plans are already in place for upgrades to the building. What are the benefits you see in those improvements?
At the end of the day, the message boards outside make everyone know that’s the Arena. Presumably with those sort of iconic structures it’s going help people identify the Arena and I think make a big naming rights sponsor even more anxious to have their company represented there. It also gives an opportunity for partners to express themselves. On the whole arena itself, it’s about the fan experience. Whether it’s the entertainment option, the dining options, the suite level being renovated. ... The governor helped us secure it and I’m sure it’s going to be make the experience of the Arena better than what it is.
Do you hope to get a naming rights sponsor soon?