WCNC News did an interview with NBA commissioner David Stern Thursday night that must be seen to be believed. The hostility and rancor Stern displays — ignore the smiling — is really quite remarkable and suggests that his visit to Charlotte on the occasion of a national TV game and to pow-wow with the Bobcat braintrust did not go as planned.

When asked about the reports that Allen Iverson did not want to be traded to Charlotte, Stern goes off on this bizarre rant:

What I do want to say is, I love Charlotte and we were here in the beginning when basketball came here and the contribution that Charlotte made to the NBA and that the NBA hopefully made to Charlotte was important, but even your question is so unfair to Charlotte and silly. It is sorta like an inferiority complex. “Well, did you hear that AI might’ve come to Charlotte and didn’t want to come?”

WCNC: We’d love to have him.

Nah, you’d love to have him but you assume there is some reason why he wouldn’t want to be in Charlotte. You guys gotta get over it.

…You guys gotta stop being so negative. Go talk to the Chamber of Commerce. This is a great city.

Yeah, we know that David, and some of us are trying to keep it that way. So let’s back up.

A half-dozen top basketball reporters reported that Allen Iverson vetoed a trade to Charlotte. The basketball community in Charlotte did not manufacture that story. The anti-basketball community in Charlotte did not make up that story. There is no Charlotte-centric genesis of any kind to the notion that AI would not want to play in Charlotte.

So how does Stern jump to the idea that Charlotte is so insecure that of course we believe that AI would not want to play here? Because Stern has to believe there is something wrong with Charlotte — too small-minded, too insecure, too caught up in the past — to embrace the wonders of an NBA franchise in 2006. There cannot possibly be anything wrong with the NBA’s on-court product, or with the way Bobcats price and market that product — under increasingly active NBA league office oversight, I might add.

No, no, David Stern and the NBA have no problems; Charlotte and local residents have the problem.

Other than that, Stern of course said the Bobcats had a great front-office team in place that was sure to do great things. Yadda yadda yadda. You know, listen to the Chamber.

Isn’t great to be in business with this joker?