"I've always been a big NBA fan, and became even more of one when I worked in the NBA league office," Bettman told reporters. "But since I took this job, I've had to go to stupid hockey games and stuff all the time. It's been hard to keep up with the NBA, but I'm really excited by all the young talent I'm seeing out there night after night."
The commissioner said he's not purposely extending the lockout in order to watch more basketball, but admits it's a nice benefit of the labor dispute.
"We were making some progress on a deal with the players the other night, but I had to cancel our follow up meeting because I got Knicks tickets," said the commissioner. "How about Carmelo Anthony so far, huh? He's playing the best basketball of his career. I think I'm going to get a Carmelo jersey."
If the NHL season can be saved, Bettman said the number of games played will hinge on a discussion with NBA commissioner David Stern.
"We play in many of the same arenas," said Bettman. "I don't want to impact NBA teams' practice schedules with our need for the ice. I think this has the potential to be the best NBA season ever and I would be devastated if the NHL messed that up."
The commissioner also was happy to announce that his NBA fantasy team is in first place for the first time in years.