BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The 2014 NBA Draft on ESPN had a new look this year as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the helm for the very first time. ESPN coordinating producer Bruce Bernstein, who regularly works on ESPN’s NBA studio coverage, again assumed his role as “glue guy” for the evening – coordinating Commissioner Silver’s on stage announcements with ESPN’s production team to help ensure a seamless telecast. Bernstein served in the same role with former Commissioner David Stern for 11 years and worked with then-Deputy Commissioner Silver on the second round from 2007-13.
“We used to have the late night shift and we would just run through it quickly. But now, he’s taught me the new pace and he has shown me how I should slow down a little bit,” said Commissioner Silver at the Draft. “Bruce keeps it really calm even though there’s a lot of pressure. He has a producer talking in his ear, he has the studio talking in his ear but he always keeps me calm. He handles pressure super well and he’s a pleasure to work with.”
Front Row caught up with Bernstein backstage at Barclays Center to talk about how he keeps the production moving on Draft night and his experience leading new Commissioner Silver through his first, first round as the man at the podium.
What are your responsibilities on Draft night?
Shortly after ESPN acquired the NBA contract for the 2002-03 season, I was I was asked if I would work during the Draft as the coordinator between the producer in the truck and David Stern. It can be a sensitive job at times because it requires a mixture of aggressiveness and discretion. During the Draft, both David and Adam are doing more than just announcing the draft picks. They are entertaining clients, sponsors, players and other officials backstage. When I have to interrupt one of their conversations because a pick is ready to be made, it can be awkward at times, but everyone understands that we are on the air with a live show and my intrusions are necessary.
What was it like working with the new Commissioner?
Working with Adam has been a great experience. He is exceptionally well prepared, very precise in his approach, and professional at all times. In addition, he is a genuinely good person who treats everyone around him with respect. Thursday night was no exception as he moved smoothly from backstage to announcing the draft picks on center stage. Working with Adam, and David before him, represents the most enjoyable night of my work year.
More photos from ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft are available in this ESPN Front Row photo gallery.