By Austin Payne
Former NBA Commissioner David Stern has passed away, per ESPN and many other sources. David’s death comes as a result of the brain hemorrhage suffered roughly three weeks ago, which had kept him hospitalized ever since.
David Stern took over the NBA in 1984, at a time when though basketball was blossoming, it was nowhere near on the global level it is today. Much is this expansion and progressive growth can be attributed to the hiring of Stern, who lead the NBA’s initiative to position themselves as one of the most iconic brands internationally for three decades.
In a quote from current commissioner and Stern’s predecessor Adam Silver, he states: “David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world. Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand — making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation,” Silver and Stern spent an abundance of time together throughout their respective careers, and Adam has nothing but positive remarks about his colleague and mentor just as the rest of those that worked along side him do.
Commissioner Stern also helped in the establishment of the WNBA, the basketball association which was groundbreaking in terms of introducing women into the national scene of professional sports as a whole. South Carolina women’s basketball coach shared her thoughts on Twitter: “Super sorry to hear the passing of David Stern. He gave us @WNBA a chance when no one else would. #RIPdavidstern”
David was initially a law school graduate, having went to college at Columbia Law School. After this he became a qualified negotiator within the litigation department of law office Proskauer Rose. Stern began his career with the NBA in working with outside counsel cases in which the league was involved in 1966. He later became the organizations first ever general counsel in 1978 and later ascended to the position of executive vice president, who was responsible for overseeing legal and business affairs.
All of this culminated to David becoming the NBA’s fourth commissioner, having followed Larry O’Brien. It’s safe to say the league hasn’t looked the same or looked back ever since making this hire, and the impact which Stern has had not only on basketball but the families and communities involved is something almost every other sports league or business should aspire to imitate.