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.

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

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!