For 24 years, the NBA commissioner has helped globalize pro basketball. And this year's compelling season could lift the league out of a ratings funk. David Stern will now take your questions
What was your lowest point as commissioner, and your highest point? Luiz Dias, Fort Worth, Texas
The worst has probably been having to suspend players for life for failing drug tests. Another was being at the announcement that Magic [Johnson] was HIV positive, when we expected to lose him. [The best] has been watching the U.S. and the world embrace the athletes of the NBA, who had earlier been described as "too black" for us to succeed.
How will you ensure that the NBA doesn't face baseball's problem with steroids? Mike Diaz, Brooklyn, N.Y.
We test every athlete four times, at random, between the beginning of training camp and the end of the postseason. We contract that work out to an independent agency. We think it's working pretty well, although you never know until you read the newspapers.
Why would you let the Seattle SuperSonics relocate to Oklahoma City? You're moving away from an Asian-Pacific community to a much less diverse place. Can you explain your logic? John Holm, Budapest
I guess my logic is that there are plenty of franchises that have jumping-off points to Asia. It could be the Bay Area; it could be Portland; it could be Los Angeles. And our Asian philosophy is more about being there. We have offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
Many commentators openly allege that star players get favorable treatment from referees. Why has there been so little response from the NBA to this problem? Madison Welch, Arlington, Va.
The criticism is not true. We have data to demonstrate that superstars don't get that treatment. I've just been hesitant to hold a press conference to announce the obvious.
Do you think the courtside dress code you put in place [in 2005] has had a positive effect? Michael Blackwell, Cedar Falls, Iowa
I do. I viewed it as an opportunity to say to our players that there is this issue of respect, and we just have to wake up and focus on that. It's not the draconian dress code that people came to believe it was. You would have thought I'd said you had to wear a tuxedo or tails to a game.
Can you do anything to increase the number of game telecasts in India? We get only two games a week, which stinks. Wamiqur Rehman Gajdhar, New Delhi
I completely agree. We're having intense negotiations now. In July our Basketball Without Borders, a clinic bringing in outstanding young talent from around Asia, is going to be held in New Delhi. So we're very interested in getting more games in the Indian market.
How do you stay sane when watching a cornerstone franchise like the New York Knicks embody utter incompetence? Brian Smith, Fort Worth, Texas
We've had teams go through bad competitive cycles. I know the Knicks have had a rough stretch, but I tend to be an optimist and think success is right around the corner.
Will the NBA attempt to push back the minimum age to 20 [from 19] when the collective-bargaining agreement expires in 2011? Kirk Henderson, Washington
Yes, we will. We think [raising the entry age to 19] has been very constructive.
Which NBA player do you enjoy watching most? Ryan Gill, Portland, Ore.
I refuse to answer that. That's between me, the closed door and my high-definition Dolby surround-sound television set.
When was the last time you suited up and played ball? Burke Hair, Chicago
That's a tough one. I quit 15 years ago, after my sons began to take away my advantage of using my behind to push them away from the basket.