David Stern, iconic NBA boss from 1984 to 2014, died Wednesday at the age of 77, two weeks after having suffered a brain hemorrhage, the NBA announced.
“Commissioner Emeritus David Stern died this afternoon from the brain hemorrhage he suffered three weeks ago,” the NBA said in a statement.
“For 22 years, I was in the front row to see David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends, ”reacted the current commissioner of the league, Adam Silver, who succeeded him in 2014.
“Thanks to David, the NBA is a truly global brand, which makes him not only one of the greatest stewards, but one of the most influential economic leaders of his generation.”
“Each member of the NBA family benefits from David’s vision, generosity and inspiration,” added Adam Silver, quoted in the NBA statement.
“I can’t put into words what David Stern’s friendship meant to me,” said Bill Russel on Twitter, the most successful player in NBA history with 11 trophies.
“David was a great innovator and made the game that we like what it is today”.
David Stern, who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on December 12 while in a New York restaurant, was transferred to a city hospital, where he remained in serious condition.
During his 30-year reign, this New York grocer’s son and law school graduate made the NBA prosper and turned it into a global brand.
At the time, this body was in the grip of serious financial problems and was far from having the media exposure of the NFL or the MLB.
During his tenure, seven franchises were created and joined the League to make it grow to 30 clubs. Others have moved and all have increased their incomes considerably.
The players too. Their average salary rose from $ 250,000 in 1984 to $ 5 million in 2014.
Players, some of whom have become planetary stars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, then later Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, were put forward by David Stern, aware that they would help transform and popularize the NBA.
For making the NBA one of the most powerful sports leagues in the world, Stern was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. He received the title of “Commissioner Emeritus” after his retirement.