2020 wasn’t 24 hours old and the Basketball world lost a legend in David Stern who passed away on January 1, 2020. Stern who was 77 years old was hospitalized on December 12 and underwent surgery for a Brain Hemorrhage. David Stern who was a lawyer by profession left a very successful practice with a firm called Proskauer Rose in 1978 to become the NBA legal counsel. Two years later Larry O’ Brien who was the NBA’s Commissioner at the time promoted Stern to Executive Vice President of the league and eventually took over for O’Brien on February 1, 1984.
Stern’s entry into the NBA as the commissioner came at a time where the league or should I say the game was having trouble marketing two of its biggest superstars in Magic Johnson and Larry Bryd, that all changed as David Stern’s aggressive marketing genius, not only help turn the careers of Johnson and Bryd around but it also helped the game in becoming a star-driven league. And that was exactly what happened as commissioner stern implemented a Draft Lottery in 1985, which would give non-playoff
teams the chance to draft the first overall pick in that year’s draft, which would be determined by a coin toss, the draft lottery structure that had been implemented by Stern had many changes to it in the years to come. Over time Stern wanted the game televised on a national level by companies such as NBC. ESPN, ABC, and Turner Broadcasting in 2002.
Things changed drastically after the 1992 Olympics as the NBA drafted its very first international player in Dirk Nowitzki, who was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, and that is when the era of international Players began. In 1995 the NBA expanded into Canada, where it gave birth to two teams in the Toronto Raptors who are the current NBA Champions and the Vancouver Grizzlies who, after six years in Vancouver, relocated to Memphis and now are known as the Memphis Grizzlies.
These are just a few of the things that David Stern did to help grow the game of Basketball, and hopefully, the legacy he left behind will continue for years to come. I am pretty that David had other plans to expand the game or better yet make it better for not just the players and the fans as well.
David Stern’s contribution to the game will never be forgotten, and as time passes current head of the NBA Adam will continue making the game better.