David Stern has been commissioner of the National Basketball Association for 30 years and few can question the impact he has had on the game during his term. Stern, who is also the longest tenured commissioner in major North American sports, announced recently that he will retire on Feb. 1, 2014. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver will assume his role and duties.
Some may rejoice at this news. Others may be sad to see him go. Regardless, it is a much different league than when Stern first took the job back in 1984. During his time as commissioner the league has expanded from 23 to 30 teams and played games internationally in places such as China.
Stern arguably presided over the NBA during its most popular years back in the ‘80s. Many may remember the great teams like the “showtime” Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the Michael Jordan-led Bulls of the ‘90s. Stern is credited for drumming up enormous interest for a league that had previously been struggling and turning it into the best and most recognized basketball league in the world. Stern has also brought innovative schemes to make the NBA one of the richest entities in the United States, drawing in about $4 billion annually.
His reign has not been without pitfalls though. He has presided over two lock-out shortened seasons, the most recent of which he was heavily criticized for what fans felt was a tyrannical approach.
The infamous referee scandal also happened under his watch. In 2007 it came to light
that former NBA official Tim Donaghy was responsible for betting on games that he officiated in his last two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spreads in those games. This dealt a crushing blow to Stern’s league and had many wondering if things would ever be the same. This scandal eventually passed however, and interest for the NBA is higher than ever all around the globe.
Stern has been largely responsible for erecting new arenas in 28 of the 30 NBA cities. The other two, Golden State and New York, are currently in the process of building or remodeling arenas and hope to be finished soon.
Stern is famous for his rigid, no-nonsense approach in dealing with NBA owners and officials as well. He has implemented many rules and regulations to increase the fairness of the
game. Under his watch, the league hopes to eventually add a team abroad as part of the NBA goal to go international. He has always been adamant about appealing to the people and putting out the best possible product.
As controversial as his methods may have been, the NBA is popular all around the world for a reason. Stern has set the standard high for his successor Adam Silver, but he is leaving behind a solid foundation for basketball as fans know it for years to come.
By: Jordan Jones
Assistant Sports Editor