Long-time NBA commissioner David Stern, who has led world's elite basketball league for decades, is being vilified by a leading sports commentator for his role in contract negotiations the league's players union.

An impasse has already resulted in some games being cancelled in what would have soon been the start of the new season.

On Tuesday Briant Gumbel of HBO’s Real Sports, harshly criticized Stern, saying the commissioner was “eager to be seen modern plantation overseer.”

“If the NBA lockout is going to be resolved anytime soon, it seems likely to be done in spite of David Stern, not because of him,” Gumbel said at the close of his show.

“I say that because the NBA’s infamously, egocentric commissioner seems more hell bent lately on demeaning the players than resolving his game’s labor impasse.”

Gumbel went on to give his interpretation of Stern’s latest comments.

“How else to explain Stern’s rants in recent days? To any and everyone who’d listen, he has alternately knocked union leader Billy Hunter, said the players were getting inaccurate information, and started sounding chicken-little claims about what games might be lost if the players didn’t soon see things his way.”

“Stern’s version of what’s been going on behind closed doors has, of course, been disputed. But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place,” he added.

Gumbel acknowledged his words would not be met with favor.

“Some will, of course, cringe at that characterization, but Stern’s disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA’s business model is broken, but to fix it, maybe the league’s commissioner should concern himself most with a solution, and stop being part of the problem.”