David Stern, the former commissioner of the NBA who oversaw the league for 30 years and was at the helm for the greatest boom period in the sport, has died. He was 77.
Stern suffered a brain hemorrhage three weeks ago and had been hospitalized since December 12th.
After assuming the role of the commissioner in 1984, Stern’s run saw the league explode in terms of TV revenue, global marketing, popularity and more. Under Stern, the league saw growth in various markets across the country, new teams in Toronto, Orlando, Miami, Vancouver/Memphis as well as the ushering in of the “greatest” era of basketball from Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, to Michael Jordan and the dominance of the Chicago Bulls.
Stern’s time as commissioner was controversial as it was bountiful for the league. There were four lockouts between owners and players, most famously the lockouts of 1999 and 2011. There was the dress code policy, instituted not long after the popularity of Allen Iverson and the brawl between Detroit and Indiana forever known as “Malice In The Palace.”
Upon transitioning his power to now commissioner Adam Silver, Stern was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. In his years after leaving the NBA, Stern lightened his stance on marijuana use for players, 20 years after it was first included in the league’s drug-testing policy.