He said that making such an assertion would likely make headlines, and in our case, he's right.
Talking from the Philippines, NBA Commissioner David Stern recently discussed the growth and progress of the league and many of its divisions/entities.
In addition to addressing potential international expansion, Stern went on to praise the D-League for the impact its made in the NBA with regard to players like Jeremy Lin. He added:
"The system really works," Stern said. "Jeremy Lin was overlooked. Some people think it was because he was Asian and others think it was because he went to Harvard. Take your choice.
"But one of the things we've done, which I'm equally proud of, and it's importance will emerge in future years as the discussions about the NCAA and its relation to the NBA heat up, is that we have a full-fledged development league. NBA Development League has 17 teams now and my guess is by 2015 it'll be 20 teams.
Such a suggestion certainly makes sense, given the fact that teams like the 76ers, Heat, and Kings all opted to enter their own single NBADL affiliations this past summer. What's more, that very concept is reportedly also on the minds of teams like the Magic and Pistons at this point as well.
So in part, suggesting ongoing growth of the D-League is not only a good idea, but a likely one. But what Stern went on to say next is much more of a bold statement, to say the least:
"So I'm very proud of the development league. It truly did develop, in some way, in a little different way, Jeremy Lin. And I think that's working ... So that march is continuing ... and as the drum beats that I hear about our colleges not liking what they refer to as ‘one-and-done,' we have a league in the NBA Development League that will accept players when they are 18 and will do, I might say, a better job of educating than the college programs in which they are."
Stern paused dramatically, then added, "Take that.
"And you know what's interesting? That remark is going to be headlines in the U.S., or at least an interesting point, because the world is a very small place. It doesn't matter where I say anything. I can get in trouble in any country in the world."
In his defense, Stern's statement seems to be much more of an endorsement of the NBA D-League, than simply a knock on the NCAA. Still, the fact that he can make such an assertion and we can all entertain the idea as a potentially worthwhile concept is very telling with regard to how much the minor league has prospered in recent seasons.