Many of you read my column a few weeks ago, praising MLB commissioner Bud Selig for his contributions to the game of baseball. The wild card, World Baseball Classic and inter-league play are just a few additions to the longtime commish’s résumé.With the NBA season getting underway last week, it’s time to shift our attention to a different commissioner, one whose actions in the past few months have been questionable to say the least.David Stern has always been a strong and swift disciplinarian, and since he took over the helm in 1984, the league has expanded both nationally and internationally. By 2005, Stern had seen the NBA grow to 30 teams, and the game’s popularity has been growing all over the world — but ever since the proclaimed “Malice in the Palace” Stern has been on a warpath to change the NBA’s image.We all remember that dark day in NBA history where then-Pacers forward Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neil and Stephen Jackson each did their best impressions of Mike Tyson, dropping Detroit Pistons fans like Peter McNeeley.When the smoke finally cleared, nine players where suspended for a total of 156 games. Ron Artest received the harshest punishment, sidelined for a total of 73 games plus the playoffs, the longest suspension in the history of American professional sports.The infamous brawl was undoubtedly a low point in NBA history, but more importantly, it gave Stern the opportunity to change the NBA’s “thug” image.Beginning last season, Stern implemented a new dress code, to reduce the number of throwback jerseys and “questionable” attire often donned by injured or inactive players. The dress code was considered by many to be racist because it forbids hip-hop fashion and urban dress often worn by young African Americans. Stern replied to such accusations, saying all types of clothing that are not business casual have been banned, affecting every player of every race.Now, I am not calling Stern a racist, but when is the last time you saw Austin Croshere wearing a Jim Brown throwback jersey?If that isn’t enough, this season Stern decided that it is no longer appropriate for players to rip off their warm-up pants on the sideline before entering the game.I’ll admit it has always been a little unusual to see players rip their pants off only to have a guy whose only job is to run like the dickens to pick up the pants so nobody slips on them — but it’s always great TV.Doesn’t Stern have anything better to do than make sure people aren’t using snap pants the way they where designed to be used? Perhaps he should try to get referees enforce palming or traveling — actual violations that are in the NBA rulebook.It’s becoming more and more apparent that Stern is afraid of what he can’t understand. To date, the NBA has fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban more than a dozen times for more than $1.5 million. Stern does not seem to understand how an owner can actually care about his team winning games and not just about making money.Stern would feel a lot more comfortable if NBA owners where all old geezers who stay upstairs in their air-conditioned luxury boxes.So what does Stern do? He decides to design rules that will curb the behavior of outspoken owners like Cuban. The final language of the legislation has yet to be determined, but it’s expected Stern will soon announce the policy aimed to ensure that “owners refrain from entering the court, taunting players or officials, and generally maintain a level of decorum mandated by the league.”In layman’s terms, Stern simply doesn’t like Mark Cuban, his antics, or the fact that he doesn’t wear a suit to Mavericks games.Now that Stern has gone to great lengths to clean up the NBA’s bad-boy image, he can focus on more important things — like the official Spalding basketball.For the second time in 60 seasons and the first time in 35 years, the NBA has changed its game balls. The new model, according to a league release, “is a microfiber composite with moisture management that provides superior grip and feel throughout the course of a game.”Well, apparently there are conflicting reports, because not one NBA player feels that this ball is superior to anything.”I think the new ball is terrible,” Heat center Shaquille O’Neil said. “Feels like one of those cheap balls that you buy at the toy store, indoor-outdoor balls.”Despite resounding criticism throughout the league, Stern remains adamant that the new ball will be beneficial to players and the NBA.I’m sure Stern was one heck of an athlete in his day, but he doesn’t have the first clue as to what feels comfortable in the hands of 7-foot basketball players.During Stern’s 22-year tenure, the league has been both lucrative and popular among fans — but the fourth commissioner in NBA history has also been the beneficiary of very good timing.The year Stern became commissioner, 1984, is also the same season that four of the NBA’s biggest superstars — Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton — joined the league.Stern was able to ride “his Airness” and all of the hoopla and marketability that surrounded M.J. into the NBA’s new wave of greatness.Jordan, along with other legends of the 1980s such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, took the game to new heights in terms of popularity and profitability.When those Hall of Famers left the game, Stern found himself with a young and brash nucleus of talent that threatened the NBA image he had worked so hard to establish.Stern’s intentions may be genuine and maybe the NBA does have a few bad apples, but you can’t change people and the foundations of a 60-year-old professional league. And that’s what the commish is trying to do.Andrew is a junior majoring in journalism. Comment on the new ball at firstname.lastname@example.org.