NEW YORK – Former NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died Wednesday afternoon as a result of a brain hemorrhage he suffered nearly three weeks ago. He was 77 years old.
Stern’s wife, Dianne, and family were at his bedside when he passed away.
Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before becoming commissioner in 1984. By the time he left, a league that had struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion a year industry and become perhaps the world’s most popular sport after soccer.
Silver released the following statement regarding Stern’s death:
“For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.
“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.
“Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David’s vision, generosity and inspiration. Our deepest condolences go out to David’s wife, Dianne, their sons, Andrew and Eric, and their extended family, and we share our grief with everyone whose life was touched by him.”