Former NBA commissioner David Stern dead at 77

Former NBA commissioner David Stern dead at 77

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Former NBA Commissioner David Stern died Wednesday following a brain hemorrhage he suffered last month, the NBA said. He was 77.

Stern’s wife and family were by his side when he passed, the NBA statement said.

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Stern, who headed the league for 30 years, making him the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner, is widely credited with making the NBA into the organization it is today, said Adam Silver, who succeeded him as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014.

“Because of David, the NBA is truly a global brand — making his not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation,” Silver said. “Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David’s vision, generosity and inspiration.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks to Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan before presenting him with the MVP Award in 1992.Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE via Getty Images file

“For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends,” Silver continued. “Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals — preparation, attention to detail and hard work.”

Stern oversaw the NBA’s growth into a league whose games were televised in more than 200 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages. Under him, the league added seven franchises and launched the WNBA and NBA Development League, now called the G League, the AP reported.

He was also involved in numerous initiatives that changed the league, including drug testing, the salary cap and implementation of a dress code.

NBA Commissioner David Stern presents Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson with his 1987 NBA Championship ring in California.Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images file

And after he left his post, he wouldn’t let staffers use the word retire, according to The Associated Press, because he never intended to stop working. Stern remained affiliated with the league with the title of commissioner emeritus and took overseas trips on the league’s behalf. He always kept an office in New York.

Associated Press contributed.

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