Clearly, rules prohibiting free expression of opinions and ideas are unconstitutional if promulgated by a governmental entity. The NBA is able to enforce such rules -- though they are blatantly and admittedly anti-free-speech -- because it is not a governmental agency but a private concern, and everyone who works in it can be made subject to its rules since each such person agreed to those rules in advance.
But.... is it really that simple? Doesn't the NBA have a MONOPOLY on professional basketball in the USA? As such, anyone working within the NBA does NOT REALLY have a choice in the matter, does he/she? The NBA is holding a financial gun to the temple of every employee/member, saying: "You either follow our rules, or we'll terminate you." Is that legal? Better question: CAN THAT BE CHALLENGED IN COURT?
Once, just once, I'd like to see one of these multi-millionaires throw a few bucks at some lawyers and go to court over this issue. Maybe Rasheed Wallace? He's not working in the system anymore, so why not? He stands to gain back ALL THE MONEY he ever paid to the NBA in fines (must be close to a $1 million, no?), plus interest and possibly punitive damages. And he's got the temperament for it. So why not? DO IT. SUE THE BASTARDS. And let the whole rotten system hit the fan. Just ONCE.
Ok, and if not that.... how about us? Why don't we form a "Fans' Union", and DEMAND certain changes in the NBA?!
#1 - No more technical fouls, unless the transgressor meets certain CLEARLY PREDEFINED standards, which will include only the most extreme cases. No more techs-on-a-whim.
#2 - If anyone speaks the TRUTH about an official or a game or the NBA -- he CANNOT BE FINED or punished in any way, no matter what.
#3 - Immediately fire 3 or 4 of the worst refs in the system. We'll pick them by referendum.
#4 - Institute a "Video Ref" in every game, who has the ultimate authority to overturn any call made by any on-court ref (which the video ref must do in time so as not to slow down the game).
#5 - David Stern must cross the court, bend down, and kiss his own behind in front of the television cameras.
#6+ - Reserved for other wonderful
(P.S. Two starters + fill-ins does not = "the Celtics". Our team is on hiatus. They'll be back, we hope, in about a month. Until then, expect the worst, hope for the best, and don't get bent of shape no matter what. That's not our team out there. Seems kind of a relief, actually, knowing that these games can't be taken seriously for a while. Personally, I'm just gonna have some fun until "the Celtics" come back.)