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LISTEN: Adam Silver Says NBA Should Rival NFL In Popularity

Adam Silver (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

Adam Silver (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver loves the current state of the National Basketball Association.

He sees the game only growing in popularity and interest, and envisions the league reaching new heights in the future.

“We ultimately should rival American football in terms of popularity,” Silver told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Thursday.

There’s plenty of good and plenty of bad in the NBA right now.

The good?

The Spurs just dethroned the mighty Miami Heat in five games in the NBA Finals to win their fifth championship. Both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are free agents, and there’s plenty of intrigue with the offseason ahead. Oh, and the highly-anticipated NBA Draft is on Thursday night at Barclays Center.

But achieving success isn’t all about blue-chip prospects and superstars.

“Players have earned the right to be free agents,” Silver told Francesa. “And once they become free agents, there’s no rule against players talking to each other. I think, ultimately, the great players realize that this is a team sport, and we saw it with the Spurs. It’s not just about an aggregation of superstars.

“…I think for basketball enthusiasts, they loved that Spurs team. And I think the word is spreading throughout the league (that) it’s not just about draft picks, it’s not just about superstars. This is a team sport, and it’s got to be taught the right way. It’s got to be coached the right way, and you’ve gotta develop that kind of culture to develop a winning franchise.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

wfan door LISTEN: Adam Silver Says NBA Should Rival NFL In Popularity
Mike Francesa

And the bad?

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for making racist comments, has filed a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA and Silver. The Sterling saga has been a black eye for the league, though Silver was praised for how he handled the incident.

“We have it under control, but it’s not over, unfortunately,” Silver told Francesa. “The dispute now centers on one between Sterling and his wife, Shelly. And so she felt she had the right under the trust agreement to sell the team, and she did to Steve Ballmer. Our lawyers obviously looked at it and feel she has the right, as well. And for some reason, it’s ultimately determined that she didn’t have the right.

“We then have to go back to our process where we’ll terminate the franchise. It requires a three-quarters vote of our owners. But either way, the outcome’s gonna be the same. So from that standpoint, it’s under control. He will not continue as the owner of the Clippers.”

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