LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hours after it was announced that longtime NBA Commissioner David Stern died, basketball players and fans have been remembering the impact he had on the league, and the game itself.
Stern, 77, suffered a brain hemorrhage Dec. 17 and had been in critical condition until his Jan. 1 death.
During his three decades as commissioner, six new NBA franchises were formed, and the WNBA was created. Stern oversaw the tremendous growth of the league, starting with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the ’80s until he stepped down in 2014.
Current Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Wednesday that said in part:
“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. 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.”
Reaction was also pouring in from the NBA community with Lakers legends Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal taking to social media.
The game changed in so many ways under David Stern’s leadership and vision. He demanded the best of everyone because he gave it himself. #Respect Thank you Commissioner. RIP 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/veT9GQfrdC
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 1, 2020
David Stern was such a history maker. When I announced in 1991 I had HIV, people thought they could get the virus from shaking my hand. When David allowed me to play in the 1992 All Star Game in Orlando and then play for the Olympic Dream Team, we were able to change the world.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 1, 2020
RIP Mr David Stern
The best commissioner to ever do it. pic.twitter.com/SgO0hMX3Ia
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 1, 2020
CBS2/KCAL9 Sports Anchor Jim Hill shared his thoughts on Stern’s passing.
“He is responsible for sports, not only just pro basketball,” Hill said. “He is responsible for sports being the global franchise it is, and for all of the guys making millions and millions of dollars and the owners making billions and billions of dollars. And as great of a commissioner as he was, he was a better man, and we will all miss him. That’s for sure.”