The Legacy of David Stern
On January 1st, 2020, former commissioner of the NBA David Stern passed away from a brain hemorrhage that he suffered three weeks prior. Even though the NBA community is saddened by his passing, he has made an impact in the NBA and basketball communities. During his 30 year tenure as commissioner of the NBA, he was able to bring the NBA back to life with the way he marketed, and the way he led it. We’re gonna look back at the legacy of David Stern from the start of his tenure in 1984 to the end of it in 2014. This will include everything he did to build the modern-day NBA that we know today.
The Legacy of David Stern
Changing the Brand
Before David Stern became commissioner, the league was in shambles due to drug issues from players and on-court violence. One of the things he did to promote the league was using the rivalry of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson to his advantage. This gave the NBA more diversity among its fanbase and shifted the focus to those players. In 1985, he implemented the lottery system in the draft, which still goes on today. It has helped make the league more competitive and got people excited for the draft. He also helped implement live television to the NBA audience, which was a big deal at the time. Before Stern’s implementation, the NBA finals were shown on tape delay. With some deals with television networks, they were successfully able to broadcast live games.
The Growth of the International Fan Base
During the 1990s, David Stern started to expand the NBA to a global platform. One of the first things he did was to allow NBA players to play in the Olympics, which resulted in the formation of the Dream Team in 1992. The Dream Team’s dominance in the Olympics increased its international fanbase. With the NBA fanbase growing, Stern expanded the NBA from 23 teams to 30 teams during his tenure. He also created international offices around the world which led to the NBA becoming the first North American professional sports league to play regular-season games outside of North America.
David Stern has impacted a lot of lives during his tenure as commissioner. In 1997, he launched the WNBA, which gave women a chance to play professional basketball. In that same year, he also launched the NBA’s D-League, which was recently changed to the G-league. This league helped rookies develop, injured players rehabilitate, and gave players a chance to show what they can do for an NBA team. In 2005, he and the league helped launch NBA Cares. This is when NBA players, coaches, and executives show their support to the community by doing community service, hosting basketball camps, and helping those less fortunate.
It’s safe to say that David Stern was a leader for the modern-day NBA that we have today. He took a league that was in shambles and made it into a worldwide brand. No other commissioner in professional sports has made an impact like David Stern has for the NBA. His way of reaching out to everyone giving everyone an equal opportunity has grown the NBA in a big way. We can thank David Stern for all he did and may his legacy live on.