Former NBA commisioner David Stern has died at 77, according to ESPN. Stern’s death came as a result of the brain hemorrhage he suffered three weeks ago.
“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.”
Stern was commissioner for three decades. Stern also helped create the WNBA.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern. The WNBA will be forever grateful for his exemplary leadership and vision that led to the founding of our league,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “His steadfast commitment to women’s sports was ahead of its time and has provided countless opportunities for women and young girls who aspire to play basketball. He will be missed.”
Stern became commissioner in February 1984, the same year Michael Jordan started in the league. Stern stepped down from commisioner in 2014.
“Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today. He guided the league through turbulent times and grew the league into an international phenomenon, creating opportunities that few could have imagined before,” Jordan said in a statement. “His vision and leadership provided me with the global stage that allowed me to succeed. David had a deep love for the game of basketball and demanded excellence from those around him — and I admired him for that. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. I offer my deepest sympathies to Dianne and his family.”
David Joel Stern was born on Sept. 22, 1942, in New York City. Stern got his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers and his law degree from Columbia. He first became associated with the NBA as part of the law firm Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, who represented the league.
Stern officially joined the NBA as the general counsel in 1978 and took over as commissioner in 1984.