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How Much Do Professional Sports Commissioners Make?

During tonight’s NBA draft, commissioner David Stern has been shaking hands with the league’s newest crop of rookies, welcoming them into a life of luxury and a potential lockout. If there is a work stoppage, Stern will manage just fine financially. Here’s the scoop on what he and the other major pro sports commissioners earn annually.

David Stern (NBA)

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The NBA doesn’t claim tax-exempt status, so Stern’s salary, which is paid collectively by the league’s owners, isn’t public information. Most reports speculate that he makes around $10 million a year, though the New York Daily News cited anonymous “league spies” who revealed that Stern made a whopping $23 million in 2010. In 1990, Stern’s reported salary of $3.5 million was more than the salaries of the commissioners in the other three major professional sports combined. Stern didn’t take a salary during the NBA’s 1999 lockout and he has said he will do the same if the players are locked out when the league’s collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

Bud Selig (MLB)

In 2009, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt said he choked on his vomit when he heard how much the MLB commissioner made.

Van Pelt would later apologize, though Selig had a few million reasons not to be offended. The Sports Business Daily reported that Selig made $18.35 million in 2007, including a $17.5 million base salary, which is the highest salary among the major pro sports commissioners (assuming Stern makes closer to $10 million than $23 million). Selig’s current salary is reportedly just shy of $19 million. In fairness, that’s about the same amount that Giants pitcher Barry Zito will make this year.

Roger Goodell (NFL)

The NFL commissioner cut his salary to $1 at the start of the league’s work stoppage, but you shouldn’t feel too badly for him. Citing the NFL’s tax return, the Sports Business Journal reported in January that Goodell earned $9.89 million in 2010. Interestingly, that made him only the third-highest paid NFL executive. NFL Network head Steve Bornstein and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue earned $12.65 million and $12.51 million, respectively. The majority of Tagliabue’s income was from retirement and deferred pay.

Gary Bettman (NHL)

According to the Sports Business Journal, the NHL commissioner made $7.2 million during the 2008-09 season, which was an increase of 1.7% from the previous year and up from the $5.9 million he earned in 2005-06. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, who both earned roughly $9 million last season, are among the 20 or so players who earn at least as much as Bettman.

A Couple of Other Commissioners

• MLS Commissioner Don Garber agreed to a contract extension through 2014 that is believed to pay him about $3 million per year.

• PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem earns roughly $5 million annually with the majority of that total coming in the form of performance bonuses.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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