Feb 26, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Western Conference forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers (32) congratulates Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (35) after scoring in the third quarter at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Commissioner David Stern's Legacy


June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; NBA commissioner David Stern speaks at the conclusion of the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Never been a fan of David Stern, not since he suspended Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Biaw during the Suns 2007 playoff run anyway which may very well have cost our Phoenix Suns their first championship. However Mr. Stern had announced he’s going to step down as the commissioner of the NBA and pass the torch to deputy commissioner Adam Silver.

Despite Stern indirectly robbing the Suns of a title, he has worked miracles with the NBA since he took over as the commissioner nearly 30 years ago. When David Stern took over the league, the league was a mess, between the drugs, the poor television deals and the reputation of the league itself, the NBA was just sitting in the crapper.

Let’s take a look at some of David Stern’s accomplishments as commissioner. When Stern took over the NBA in 1984 he made a claim saying he’s going to globalize the NBA and people looked at this guy like he was a mad man, and they had a reason to think that.

Well little did everyone know during the 1984 NBA draft a player by

the name of Michael Jordan would enter the NBA and together with David Stern they’d elevate the NBA to new heights. The NBA is now televised in 215 countries around the world in 43 languages.

Stern not only succeeded but went beyond. The NBA is now one of the most known and popular leagues worldwide second only to soccer. Since Stern took over the NBA from former commission Larry O’Brien, the NBA player’s salary has grown over 1000%; there’s no typo there are four zeros there.

Stern also put forth a dress code with was a rule that required players to wear a jacket and tie and dress in a “Business or conservative” Sense when traveling to a scheduled game or even an injured player who’s sitting on the bench after the league’s image was stomped on during the Pacers and Piston’s brawl back in 2004 and Stern wanted to restore some sense of professionalism to the NBA.

David Stern also added 7 new NBA franchises, the L.A Clippers, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the New Orleans Hornets; the Heat has been the only team thus far to win a title.

Stern also relocated 6 different franchises, Clippers from San Diego to L.A, Kings from Kansas City to Sacramento, Grizzlies from Vancouver to Memphis, Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans, Sonics(Thunder) from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and most recently the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn(New York).

Oct 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Katie Douglas and forward Tamika Catchings in the center hold the trophy as their teammates gather around during the victory celebration after the Fever won the 2012 WNBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Another one of David Stern’s accomplishment was starting the WNBA. Prior to the WNBA, women who played college basketball would be forced into finding regular jobs or playing overseas after graduating from college but on April 24th 1996 the WNBA was put into place and great female basketball players would from that point on get to live out their dreams of playing in the WNBA.

Stern’s legacy has been a pretty solid one with the exception of two shortened seasons during the 1998-1999 season and most recently last season. The movement of the Seattle Supersonics have also been a pretty controversial move and the people of Seattle are still heartbroken they had their Sonics taken away from them but hey if Stern took the Suns out of Phoenix we’d be up in a riot!

David Stern certainly hasn’t been the most popular commissioner but let’s face it no commissioner has ever been a fan favorite. Stern has done what a good boss does; get his company to the top. The NBA may not be number one right now but it’s getting there. In America the NBA is still somewhat a distant second behind the NFL but with the Kevin Durants, Blake Griffins and Derrick Roses of the world coming into the best league in the world year after year, it won’t be long until the NBA rises to the top.

So championship robbery aside, yes Mr. Stern the people of the Phoenix Suns community will forever hold a grudge against you for that suspension, but all of that aside, Stern has done what he said he’d do. He globalized the NBA, and has been a great influence of the sport of basketball.

Stern is set to step down on February 1st 2014, and deputy commissioner Adam Silver will take over. Let’s hope Silver can carry on the greatness that is the NBA and further build on it like Stern has and maybe by the time Silver steps down the NBA will become not only America’s but the world’s passion!

Tags: Adam Silver David Stern NBA Phoenix Suns

  • desert rat

    Opening paragraph, along with forcing the refs to keep games close or extend playoff series is all his legacy ever will be. NBA would have grown twice as fast had small markets been allowed to compete. Laker and Knick fans will always watch, but imagin the overall fan base had the Bucks won a championship, or even the Grizzlies when they were in Canada. That’s why NFL reins supreme. Not because Cowboys win, but because Carolina, Az, Seattle, St Louis, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, New England,New Orleans, ect have all been to Superbowl last ten years. Stern has held league down. Period.

    • Matthew

      @1b7c0e0a5a6ca6a3b0e8fcf5803da186:disqus I see your point and in my opinion your half right. I mean look at San Antonio, they’ve been able to win behind great ownership. Now take a look at the Suns for example, poor ownership led to sale of 1st round picks(Deng, Rondo, Fernandez, etc.) and the Suns came up short during a 6 year title window. Memphis same thing, that Gasol deal to L.A a few years back, they pretty much handed L.A two titles. Could Stern have done a better job? Yes but let’s not forget that when Stern took over the NBA was behind NFL, MLB, NCAA Football and basketball, and to a certain extent the NHL in terms of popularity and in the last 28 years he’s done great things for the league. As for the small market teams that haven’t won titles, could Stern have done a better job helping them? Yes, but is it all his fault? No. Because the NFL is already so much of a bigger market than the NBA which leads to more revenue which means the owners of NFL teams can spend more leniently than NBA owners, but fact of the matter is a lot of NBA owners are lousy owners, we have one owning our team right now(Sarver)! Could someone have done a better job than Stern in hindsight? Sure but right now you gotta give credit where credit is due.

      • desert rat

        Nicely put. However, disagree on a few points. Colangelo’s are HOF owners, Sarver didn’t own team for most those moves, however agree’d he is worst thing to happen to PHX. Touching on last part of your comment, think back. NFL is what it is today because of things like, fantasy football and the parody in the 90′s and so on. In the 80′s when Stern took over NFL was far behind Baseball and even with NBA. 30 years later, NBA is on verge of bankrupcy, while NFL is NOW the global enterprise it is. Stern made NBA money with its extended playoff series for big markets, no doubt. But the 6 million viewers in major markets vs the 600,000 viewers in Charlotte is a HUGE contrast. Those six or seven big markets is what keeps NBA from entirely sinking. LA selling out New Orleans arena is how NBA makes money. In the NFL, even the worst small markets sell out. Why? Because in the NFL, your team always has a chance. In Sterns NBA, you better be rooting for Miami, cause the team in your State has no shot….not under Stern.

        • Matthew

          @1b7c0e0a5a6ca6a3b0e8fcf5803da186:disqus Under good ownership, and management any team has a chance to win, Oklahoma City is proving it right now. Sarver actually did own the team for most of the moves, he took over in 2004 and he decided to sell draft picks because he felt the team was good enough and he didn’t want to pay the luxury tax. The market difference has always been an issue throughout sports but again if you put a winning team out there despite the market fans will show up, for example the Trail Blazers were 2nd in attendance last year and they finished worse than the Suns that just goes to show but they were competitive with guys like Aldridge and Blazers fans always showed up to support their team. Bottom-line is that any team can compete as long as the owner’s goal is to win at all costs, and the team is surrounded with a good coaching staff, the Suns have a good coaching staff but I personally can’t see them get over the hump to win a title with Sarver around.

          • desert rat

            Your statement inadvertly suggest that the big market teams are the only ones with a good owner because they are the only ones who compete. Salary cap is even across the board, and teams over the cap don’t prove to be winners, nessesarily. Owners of these teams are billionaires. Money isn’t an issue. However, an owner in Golden State has no interest in over paying, knowing full well they can never win a championship the way its set up now. You say any team can compete? Then why don’t they? I’m not dropping a bombshell. Its well known in most circles, and even admitted by Stern (past player complained, only to get this quote from Stern “My job is to put a watchable product on TV for the fans, and this game has made a lot of money. If he doesn’t like it, he can play another sport”) its not debatable what Stern has done. The only debate is if it was good for the league. Stern says they needed the money from the TV contracts for those six teams while I say, NBA would have been more succeseful if it got just a lil less fom them, but a whole lot more from the small markets…I could be wrong…