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NBA Chief David Stern Makes Wife-Beating Quip During On-Air Spat With Jim Rome (Audio)

David Stern Jim Rome - H 2012
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David Stern, left, and Jim Rome

Stern became heated after Rome asked whether the league's draft lottery is fixed.

NBA commissioner David Stern got into a contentious exchange with radio host Jim Rome on Wednesday after the broadcaster asked him a question about the NBA draft lottery.

About a minute into the interview, Rome asked Stern if the lottery was fixed, based on the fact that the NBA-owned New Orleans received the top pick in the draft.

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"I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy," said Rome, who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program. "Was the fix in for the lottery?"

Replied Stern: "I have two answers for that. The simple easy one, no, the second, a statement, shame on you for asking."

Rome replied that it was his job to ask such questions, but Stern dismissed it as "ridiculous."

He then asked rhetorically, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

Stern seemingly wasn't accusing Rome of spousal abuse -- the broadcaster in fact has no such history of it -- but instead used the loaded question to make a point about Rome's own question, that it could not be answered without incriminating himself.

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But Rome replied, "I don't think that's fair," and later said he hopes Stern won't hold it against Rome for asking the question.

"I wouldn't hold it against you," Stern said. "You and I have been in more contentious talks than that. But it's good copy. You do these things for cheap thrills."

After Rome protested, Stern amended his language: "Cheap trick. You've been successful in making a career of it, and I keep coming on."

Responded Rome: "Making a career of it? Making a career of what? What? Cheap thrills?"

Replied Stern: "Now you're getting mad. You're taking on the world and now Jim Rome is pouting."

Said Rome: "I'm not pouting. I'm taking offense."

Asked Stern: "You want to hang up on me?"

Said Rome: "No, I'm seriously running out of time."

Stern: "Listen, I gotta go call somebody important like [ESPN's] Stephen A. Smith back. He's next."

Rome: "OK, you go make that call, and I'll go talk to somebody else too, I guess. Have a nice day." He then added: "I did not hang up on him, we are officially out of time."