Former NBA Commissioner David Stern died Wednesday, nearly three weeks after suffering a brain hemorrhage, according to the league.
Stern, 77, served as NBA commissioner from 1984 to 2014, and during his tenure the NBA became one of the most popular sports leagues in the world and increased television revenue from $10 million per year to approximately $900 million per year, according to ESPN.com.
Stern stepped down from the commissioner’s role in 2014. Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Stern ushered in the modern global NBA.
“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,” Silver said in a statement. “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.”
Television executives also commented on Stern’s passing. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said, “David Stern was a brilliant leader whose vision was instrumental in creating the global success the NBA enjoys today. ESPN is deeply grateful for his tremendous partnership through the years. Our thoughts are with David’s loved ones, Commissioner Silver and the entire NBA family at this difficult time.”
Turner Sports added: “David Stern was a true visionary and brilliant architect of the NBA’s rise from a highly successful sports league to an admired global brand. His impact will be felt for generations to come. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and the entire NBA community.”