NBA Rumors: NFL Owners Tried To Hire Away Commissioner Adam Silver

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Adam Silver recently celebrated his fifth anniversary of taking over as commissioner of the NBA, a tenure which has mostly been seen as a success for the league.

Silver has been such a success, in fact, that there have been overtures from another league to get him to take them over.

That’s according to a bombshell report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne Thursday, which stated that NFL owners have reached out to Silver about becoming commissioner of the NFL. The report stated that while Silver did not explicitly confirm the NFL’s overtures, “sources close to the situation” confirmed that NFL owners approached Silver about replacing Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner.

The commissioner has also had job inquiries from Fortune 500 corporations, the report said.

The reaching out doesn’t appear to have gotten very far.

“I’ll just say I have not given it any thought,” Silver told ESPN. “I feel very fortunate to be in this position. As a longtime fan, as a longtime league employee, the opportunity to become the commissioner of this league was beyond anything I even ever dreamed of as a kid.”

ESPN had reported in 2017 that some NFL owners had approached Silver, who had immediately said no. But Silver had never gone on the record on the matter before.

Neither ESPN report lists which owners may have behind the Silver push. The Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, per Sports Illustrated reporting in 2017, was the leader of a faction of owners who were moving to stop commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension.

The effort to stop Goodell’s extension failed, however, as in late 2017 the league’s owners approved a five-year, $200 million extension to continue as commissioner through 2024. Silver also agreed to a contract extension, through 2024, last summer, per an NBA press release. No financial terms were disclosed.

In Silver’s opening months as NBA commissioner, he was nearly immediately faced with a major crisis, as tapes were released of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling using racial slurs. With players threatening boycotts, Silver acted decisively, announcing in April of 2014 that Sterling had been banned for life from the NBA and would be forced to sell the team, per NBA.com. Silver was widely praised for his handling of the Sterling matter.

More recently, Silver has nearly doubled the NBA’s annual revenues to a projected $9.1 billion, per ESPN. He has opened up the league toward association with gambling, while also allowing patches with advertising on jerseys for the first time.