NBA Commish On the ‘Digital Water Cooler'

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In a one-on-one session at the ANA TV & Everything Video Forum in New York Thursday, NBA Commissioner David Stern talked up the value of the “digital water cooler” - all those Facebook likes, friends and Twitter followers — which he says has a positive impact on TV viewership of NBA games.

But he did acknowledge that within the league, sometimes that online conversation can go sour, pointing to some indiscreet tweets from players retweeting offensive song lyrics, for example. “The upside is still greater than the downside,” he told the audience. “But this is not a private conversation, the world is watching.”

He takes the same approach with some of the off-the-court drama in certain players’ lives. “Players say something, you can wish they hadn’t, but that doesn’t mean you should control it.”

When Stern was asked about the relationship between Laker Lamar Odom and reality starlet Khloe Kardashian, including the couple’s upcoming E! reality show, the commissioner sighed, obviously having resigned himself to its inevitability.

“As long as they do it with some amount of dignity and grace, it’s good for us.”

But just because he acknowledges the benefits of the digital water cooler on a huge franchise like the NBA, don’t expect the commish himself to be taking a drink anytime soon. When asked if he has a Twitter account, Stern said “I tweeted for 20 min at an All-Star game two years ago,” but realized it wasn’t for him. “I said guys, get me out of here.”