My cell phone rings.
It's still dark and the crickets can still be heard chirping through my open windows. It can't possibly be my cell phone. It's 4:15am and I'm not on the escalation list at work. I close my eyes to go back to sleep, assuming that this is all a dream, but a stiff elbow in the ribs from my wife shakes me awake. I roll over, looking at my cell phone.
A 405 area code. I don't know anyone in the 405 area code nor where the 405 area code even is. 205 is Birmingham, 305 is Miami and 405 is...?
Another stiff elbow makes me answer the phone, "Hello?"
"Mr. Nesgoda?" A soft, gentle voice asks from the speaker of the phone.
"This is he."
"Did you know you are simply one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world?"
"I'm not taking your team back to Seattle, Clay!"
I hit the end call button on the phone and slam it back down on the night stand. I could get a few more hours of sleep before I had to start driving over to Seattle before the emergency hailing of the Board of Governors meeting at the Edgewater on the water front. I should have probably drove over last night, but I like my own bed and before I can finish my next thought I'm back as sleep.
The Edgewater staff has laid out the long, solid oak tables in a "U" formation. Each table has has two pitchers of water, two tall glasses on top, executive, leather office chairs behind. Bronze name plates mark each seat: PAUL ALLEN, MARK CUBAN, HERB SIMON and so on.
Kind of funny that there was assigned seating. What if some of these owners didn't like each other and couldn't stand being near each other?
At the head table next to ADAM SILVER is another name plate; KEVIN NESGODA: NBA COMMISSIONER. I was going to have to keep that. Sure I could have had that made online for $15, but a picture with Silver, Cuban and Allen would definitely help add some legitimacy to the claim. It'd get a lot of comments on Facebook. Probably a lot more than that damn Trudy Beekman.
I go to pull my notes out of my suit jacket, instead I pull out a wad of doggy poo bags. I sigh, but I'm calm. I know exactly what I want to talk about, I have my arguments memorized and it's all about their bottom line. The NBA is all about the bottom line and I am going to open up their markets even more so.
I take off my jacket and hang it on the back of my chair, waiting for the rest of the group to file in. After a few minutes Micky Arison arrives, he gives me a nod and a polite smile, but knowing I'm only commissioner for a day he decides to take his seat. It would have been nice to get a handshake, but I'm sure that he has some more important Tweeting to do.
Herb Simon and Cuban are the next one's in. Cuban does shake my hand and makes some small talk as most of the rest of the owners come in and talk a seat. Adam Silver sneaks in and sits down next to me. He shakes my hand and then Mark's.
Cuban takes a seat not too far from me. I think he's going to go for this. He's going to be an ally.
Silver calls the meeting to order, he takes roll, maybe leads the pledge of allegiance, but I'm in the zone and extremely nervous. My body trembles, my face is numb, my jaw is clenched so tight that my molars are close to shattering.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath then release it, opening my eyes again. The room is silent. All eyes are on me, my lips barely part, ready to speak, my mind goes blank. All my preparation gone in a wisp. I wish that I had my wife to elbow me in the ribs right now. I shift in my chair a bit so I can feel the bruise that I got from my wife from the two elbows this morning.
"Ms. Buss, gentlemen," I start slowly, "for some reason David Stern in his farewell tour has given me power of commissioner for a day. I have been assured that everything is on the table, but we still have proper bylaws to follow and I do not have carte blanche to do whatever I want."
I reach down and take a long drink of water.
"So item number one is expansion. We need to fix two mistakes and try to pull in back over six million NBA fans. We need to return to Seattle and Vancouver immediately. We can agree that mistakes were made in both cases, but we have a chance to fix it. TV contract is coming up and it's going to be huge. Let's add two huge media markets into the fold since we traded them for two extremely small ones. It makes the most sense. At least it does to me. Teams would be added in 2014, ownership groups are already in place.
"Item number two is a bit of flex off this and also fixes tanking and also fixes middling teams that are constantly the eighth seed or just missing the playoffs year after year. Milwaukee, looking at you specifically. With the addition of Seattle and Vancouver the league will be back at 32 teams. There will no longer be a lottery to determine draft order, but instead there will be a tournament. The sixteen that do not make the playoffs will play in a random draw, single elimination tournament, winner gets the number one overall pick and so on down. For the season we would do one final lottery. Seattle and Vancouver would flip a coin to see who would get the number one overall pick, loser would get number four."
I look around the room and notice a lot of questionable looks on the owners faces. Going to really need some momentum. Hopefully this gets them.
"Finally, I'd like to cut the first round of the playoffs back down to five games. I would, however, like to extend the playoffs two more rounds."
This does cause some whispers and more inquisitory looks.
"I want a real world champion. I want the NBA champion to go on to play the winner of the South American league champion and the winner of that series would play the winner of the Euroleague, Asia, African league playoff winner. The NBA brand would be taken more global than it is now and instead of a 'world' champion being crowned in the United States every year, we'd have a chance to have a true world champion that no other sport on the planet can claim. This would also put more money in all your wallets and in the next TV contract would be even bigger. I want this in place by the 2018-2019 season. Those are the three things that I wanted to bring to you and have you vote on. I will step out and let you deliberate."
I fix adjust my tie as the room bursts into conversation. I'm soon in the hallway, the doors clicking behind me. The voices are now muffled. I know I don't have the pull that Stern or Silver do and if I sat in there and lobbied, not a person would listen. No one would care about my words. I know they are going to say no to all my requests.
Maybe I can find out who all the no votes are and talk to some local billionaires about buying off some referees for the upcoming season.
Nah, I love the game of basketball too much. Hopefully these fun changes will be considered and hopefully added.
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