NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A day after NBA commissioner David Stern said teams had gotten carried away with pyrotechnic displays of shooting flames, booming firecrackers and sparklers during home-team introductions, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered an even more critical take.
``When you get that powder and all that stuff on you, people, I think, that have lung problems are really endangering themselves,'' Popovich said Tuesday night, shortly before tip-off of Game 5 of the Spurs' second-round series against the New Orleans Hornets. ``They can't ingest that stuff, you know. It is dangerous. But in general, every time I'm at a place where they do pyrotechnics, I just tell myself, there's going to be an accident. It's like the stop sign that doesn't get put up until a kid gets killed.''
Before Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavaliers series in Cleveland on Monday night, Stern said ``the noise, the fire, the smoke, is a kind of assault that we should seriously consider reviewing in whether it's really necessary given the quality of our game.''
Such displays are the norm during the Hornets introductions at New Orleans Arena. Also, there was a 19-minute delay during the first half of Game 1 of the series because of a mascot's stunt involving a ring of fire.
After the mascot, known as Super Hugo, successfully used a trampoline to jump through the fire and dunk a basketball, firefighters on site were unable to put out the flames with a carbon dioxide extinguisher and resorted to a conventional foam spray, which left a white residue all over the court.
``With all that fire and kind of explosive material going on and there's kids, people, cheerleaders, this, that, all over the place, something's going to happen,'' Popovich said.
Stern's criticism ``was a mild warning, probably, and probably, we should take note of it,'' the coach said.
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