At the age of 77, former NBA Commissioner David Stern has passed away following a brain hemorrhage he suffered in December, according to the National Basketball Association. The loss is being felt throughout the league, and around the world.
Stern has been credited for revolutionizing global sports during his 30-year tenure in the NBA, and the work he has continued since he passed the leadership torch to Adam Silver in February 2014. Stern remained active around the NBA as the commissioner emeritus until his emergency surgery last month. His biography on the NBA website notes that, “As commissioner, Mr. Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing, television distribution and digital technology.”
His influence didn’t stop with the NBA as we think of the 30 teams today. Stern also oversaw the growth of seven franchises and the launch of two leagues: the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League. He is also credited for negotiating the first anti-drug agreement in professional sports and introduced the salary cap system and revenue sharing to the NBA.
On December 12, 2019, Stern collapsed at a restaurant on West 57th Street in Manhattan at roughly 2 p.m. It was reported that he was rushed to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital once a 911 call was placed for suspected cardiac arrest. On Dec. 17, the NBA announced on behalf of the Stern family that the former commissioner was in serious condition following an emergency surgery.
After the NBA released information that Stern had in fact suffered from a brain hemorrhage (or bleeding on the brain), little has been announced about his ongoing progress. However, the surgery for a brain hemorrhage is exceptionally difficult, but often necessary to relieve some of the pressure on the brain. What was well known following his surgery was that his family has been by his side throughout the weeks before his passing and on Wednesday.
Silver released a statement on behalf of the NBA Wednesday afternoon about his predecessor and his incomparable legacy. In it, he concluded, “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.”
David Stern, the NBA commissioner who oversaw the sport's biggest stage for three decades, has died.
He was 77. pic.twitter.com/Zc9IngkTPI
— ESPN (@espn) January 1, 2020