With the NBA Draft taking place tonight, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be front and center as he announces many of the first round picks. Silver isn’t the most outspoken executive in sports so he hasn’t made too many headlines. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t paid his dues to become a very wealthy man.
Adam Silver’s net worth is $30 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Silver won’t wow anybody with his charisma, but he’s consistently brought stability to the NBA during his time and the NBA is more popular than its ever been. The New Yorker and self-professed Knicks fan rose through the ranks of the NBA to become one of the most powerful people in all of sports. But how did he do it? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Was a Lawyer Before Getting Involved With the NBA
Before dipping his toes in the NBA world, Adam Silver was a graduate of Duke University. During his time at Duke, Silver worked on the congressional campaign for Les AuCoin, a representative from Oregon. Silver decided to finish up at Duke a semester early so that he could work as a legislative assistant for AuCoin. However, that was not his last time in the classroom. Not long after his time with AuCoin, Silver went to the University of Chicago to get his Doctor of Jurisprudence. He received it in 1988.
Silver went on to serve as a litigation associate at the New York law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. According to Abovethelaw.com, Cravath would’ve been paying a starting salary of around $83,000 when Silver was there so it’s possible he made something in that range. After his time at the law firm, Silver worked as a law clerk to Judge Kimba Wood, a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. His time as a lawyer didn’t last long. Eventually, basketball came calling.
2. He Spent Over 8 Years as the President of NBA Entertainment
Silver joined the NBA in 1992 as a Special Assistant to the Commissioner. After working his way up, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of NBA Entertainment in 1997 and kept that position for eight years. NBA Entertainment manages the media side of the NBA whether it be TV, movies, internet, etc.
While with NBA Entertainment, Silver was an executive producer of the documentary Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray? He also assumed the same role for the IMAX movie Michael Jordan to the Max and helped with the production of Like Mike. If there’s any piece of NBA media from 1997-2006, Silver has likely been involved with it.
3. He was named Commissioner in 2014
In 2006, Silver was named Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. He was very involved with NBA China, collective bargaining negotiations and TV contracts as he was former commissioner David Stern’s right-hand man. His success in those areas led to Stern endorsing Silver in 2012 to replace him as NBA Commissioner when he stepped down in 2014. When 2014 rolled around, Silver was unanimously voted in to become the commissioner.
It didn’t take long for him to feel the heat as commissioner because 2014 was the year that former Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling had the whole racism issue. Silver responded to the issue by banning Sterling and hitting with the maximum fine he could. He then urged owners to expel him and force him to sell the team. This decision led to Silver receiving praise around the league and started off his tenure as the commissioner on a good foot with players. Silver received a five-year extension in 2018 that runs through 2023.
4. His Annual Salary as Commissioner Is $10 Million
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Adam Silver’s contract should be paying him $10 million a year. It seems like the bulk of his income has come while he’s been commissioner. $10 million a year is half as much as David Stern’s reported salary while he was commissioner. Stern apparently has accumulated $135 million over the years, which is significantly more than Silver. That being said, Stern was the NBA commissioner for 30 years, so it is likely he received a few raises over the years. With the NBA’s growing popularity, it’s entirely possible that Silver outearns Stern in the future. Silver is only 57 years old, so he could have many more years as commissioner under his belt.
5. He’s on the Duke’s Board of Trustees & the Board of Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
Silver continues to be involved with his alma mater, Duke, as he’s a member of the school’s board of trustees. He serves alongside the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook. As a member of the board of trustees, Silver is able to help with how the university is managed. With minds like Silver and Cook around, Duke seems to be in good hands.
Silver is also a board member of the Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, which is a charitable origination that wants to, based on their mission statement:
Advance the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer by: Increasing funding and support of research into the biological mechanisms and clinical strategies related to diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Facilitating and enhancing the dialogue among members of the medical and scientific communities about basic and clinical research efforts. Heightening public awareness of pancreatic cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention and providing informational support for patients, their families and friends.
The foundation was founded in 1999 and Silver serves alongside New York Knicks owner James Dolan, as well as many others.