Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who led the league for 30 years and retired in 2014, passed away on Wednesday afternoon, according to a release put out by the league. Stern was 77 years old.
According to the league, Stern’s passing occurred as the result of a brain hemorrhage that he suffered on Dec. 12. Stern collapsed at a restaurant in Manhattan, which led to him being rushed to a hospital and undergoing emergency surgery. He is survived by his wife, Dianne, and his two sons, Andrew and Eric.
Stern took over the mantle of NBA Commissioner in 1984, and during his tenure as commissioner, oversaw immense growth by the league. He was eventually replaced by Adam Silver, who released a statement on his passing.
For 22 years, I had courtside seats 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.
Few commissioners have ever been as influential in the growth and success of a league as Stern was with the NBA, and the basketball world writ large lost a titan on Wednesday afternoon.