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Former NBA Commissioner David Stern dies on the age of 77

FILE – In this file photo dated June 7, 2009, NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the 2011 NBA All-Star basketball game will be held at a press conference in Los Angeles. David Stern, who has been the NBA's longest serving commissioner for 30 years and oversaw its growth into a world power, passed away on New Year's Day, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. He was 77 years old (AP Photo / Matt Sayles, File)

NEW YORK – David Stern, the basketball-loving lawyer who led the NBA as the longest-serving commissioner around the world for 30 years and monitored its growth into a global powerhouse, died on Wednesday. He was 77 years old.

Stern had brain hemorrhage on December 12 and underwent emergency surgery. The league said he died at his bed with his wife Dianne and their family.

"The entire basketball community is broken," said the National Basketball Players Association. "David Stern deserved and deserved to be admitted to our land of giants."

Stern worked for the NBA for almost two decades before becoming its fourth commissioner on February 1, 1984. When he left his position in 2014, he said neither that he would retire, nor did he let the league staff say, "Because he never stopped working – a league that had gained ground before him was in for more grew over $ 5 billion a year, making NBA basketball perhaps the most popular sport in the world after football. "

"Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand, making him not only one of the greatest sports stewards of all time, but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation," said Adam Silver, who followed Stern as steward. "Every member of the NBA family benefits from David's vision, generosity and inspiration."

Given good debates in the boardroom and good games in the arena, Stern would say that one of his greatest achievements was to lead a league of predominantly black players plagued by drug problems in the 1970s to popularity in the American mainstream ,


He was involved in almost every initiative that was taken, from the drug test program to the implementation of the salary cap and the creation of a dress code.

But for Stern, it was always about "the game", and his morning often included reading the results of the previous night in the newspaper – even after he had prepared himself for technological advances, reading NBA.com was easier than ever.

“The game brought us here. It's always about the game and everything else we do is make the stage or presentation of the game even stronger, and the game itself is in the best shape it has ever been, ”he said the night before of the 2009/10 season, calling it "a new golden age for the NBA".

One, largely launched by Stern over a three-decade run, made from a myriad of ball players famous who were known around the world by one name: Magic, Michael, Kobe, LeBron, to name a few ,

Stern led the birth of seven new franchises and the founding of the WNBA and NBA Development League, today's G-League, and offered countless opportunities for a career in basketball in the United States that were previously unavailable ,

Not bad for someone who once thought his job was a temporary one.

He was the league's external attorney from 1966 to 1978 and was the general attorney for the NBA for two years. He thought he could always go back to his legal career if he found things didn't work after a few years.

He never did.

After serving as executive vice president of business and legal affairs for the NBA from 1980-84, he replaced Larry O'Brien as commissioner.

The NBA was overlooked and ignored just a few years earlier when it wasn't even delivering its championship round on live television. Thanks to the rebirth of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry behind Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, she experienced a rapid upswing, followed by the entry of Michael Jordan a few months after Stern became commissioner.

Under Stern, the NBA would play nearly 150 international games and be televised in more than 200 countries and territories, and in more than 40 languages, and the NBA finals and the All-Star weekend would become international spectacles. The 2010 All Star game drew more than 108,000 fans to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, a record to watch a basketball game.

“It was David Stern who turned the league as a marketing genius. That's why our brand is so strong, ”said Johnson, who announced that he retired from HIV in 1991, but returned to the All-Star game the following year with Stern's support.

"It was David Stern who won this league worldwide."

He was deeply vulnerable to his players and referees when he felt he was being wrongly criticized, for example when Indiana Pacers members argued with Detroit fans in 2004 or an FBI investigation in 2007 found that Tim Donaghy had gambled. He directed and threw the entire umpire operations department into turmoil. With a rising and flying voice, Stern publicly reprimanded the media, including individual writers, when he felt they had made cheap recordings.

However, he was also a relentless negotiator against the same employees in collective bargaining, and his loyalty to his owners and his commitment to cheap deals led to his greatest failures, lockouts in 1998 and 2011, which the NBA only lost games to job breaks , Though he had already passed the heavy lifting on to Silver, it was Stern who received the most criticism and damage to a legacy that was otherwise seldom tarnished.

"As tough as an opponent was, he always recognized the value of our players and had the vision and the courage to put them in the focus of our league's marketing efforts – integrating the NBA into the empire today," said the NBPA.

David Joel Stern was born in New York, September 22, 1942. A graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School, he devoted himself to public service and launched the NBA Cares program in 2005, which donated more than $ 100 million to charity in five years.

Shortly after becoming commissioner, he began to look internationally and the game's globalization got a huge boost in 1992 when Jordan, Johnson and Bird played on the US Olympic Dream Team, which brought a new popularity to the sport when storming for the gold medal in Barcelona.

Stern took advantage of this by competing NBA teams against other NBA or international clubs in the pre-season and opening offices in other countries. The league hosted regular season games in Japan in 1991 and provided substantial funds to China. Stern's work there would pay off in 2008 when basketball was perhaps the most popular sport at the Beijing Olympics.

The growth slowed towards the end of his term. The global economic downturn in the late 2000s destroyed his long-standing hopes of overseas expansion and led to the second lockout, in which the owners wanted massive changes in salary structure after losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to their basketball teams for losses in their personal shops.

He helped get them, and the league flourished again when he resigned. Stern said that he believed the time was right, confident of having a worthy successor in Silver who had worked in the league for more than two decades.

Stern remained busy, went abroad on behalf of the league, spoke in public and consulted various companies. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Stern and his wife had two sons, Andrew and Eric.

Edited by MUF

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