David Stern, the former commissioner of the NBA, has died at the age of 77. This news comes after Stern was hospitalized on December 12 when he suffered a brain hemorrhage, which the NBA revealed in a statement.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news of Stern’s passing.
As Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney posted on Twitter, the league’s official statement explained that Stern underwent emergency surgery on December 12.
“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery. Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”
Stern was eating in Manhattan, New York in early December when the medical emergency occurred. As NorthJersey.com reported, he went into cardiac arrest around 2 p.m., information which came from the New York Fire Department.
Stern is survived by his wife, Dianne and their two sons, Eric and Andrew.
NBA Issues Statement on David Stern’s Death
Stern was widely viewed as one of the most influential commissioner’s in NBA history. Following his death, the league issued a statement, as Marc Stein of the New York Times revealed.
“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern passed away this afternoon as a result of the brain hemorrhage he suffered approximately three weeks ago. His wife, Dianne, and their family were with him at his bedside.”
Per Stein, current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement on Stern’s passing as well.
“For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.
“David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world. 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’s Tenure as NBA Commissioner
Stern held the role of NBA commissioner for 30 years, from 1984 to 2014. He was the fourth person in league history to hold the position and succeeded the person who the NBA championship trophy is named after – Larry O’Brien.
Stern was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. The Hall of Fame called him “one of the most influential commissioner’s in the NBA’s history.” As the site details, the NBA not only added seven new teams during Stern’s tenure, but they also relocated six franchises and opened 13 global league offices.
As ESPN’s Paul Hembekides detailed, Stern took a league that showed playoff games on a tape delay to one with an average franchise worth $1.9 billion.
Stern’s impact on the NBA came in many ways and he was a pivotal part of making the world’s most popular basketball league what it is today.