David Stern, the former head of the National Basketball Association who helped transform the league into a global, multi-billion-dollar business, died this afternoon after suffering from a brain hemorrhage on December 12. He was 77.
Stern led the NBA as commissioner for three decades, from 1984 to 2014. His tenure coincided with the explosive rise of the Chicago Bulls and star players such as Michael Jordan, the launch of seven franchises—including the expansion of the league into Canada—and the creation of the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA development league.
A number of current and former NBA players, including Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Paul, and Anthony Tolliver, mourned Stern’s death and noted his “legendary” impact on Twitter. O’Neal called Stern “the best commissioner to ever do it.”
Stern’s successor, Adam Silver, credited the late NBA commissioner for turning the league into “a truly global brand.” In a statement shared by the NBA, Silver wrote that Stern was “not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation.”