NBA commissioner David Stern to step down

By Michael Cunningham

David Stern’s time as NBA commissioner will soon come to an end so it seemed an appropriate time for him to talk about his legacy as NBA commissioner.

But Stern, 70, said he’s not a big believer in the “‘L’ word.,” though he wasn’t modest about his resume.

“I just want people to say that he steered the good ship NBA through all kinds of interesting times, some choppy waters, some extraordinary opportunities and … on his watch, the league grew in popularity, became a global phenomenon, and the owners and the players and the fans did very well,” Stern said during a teleconference.

Stern informed the league’s owners Thursday that he will step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years after he was hired. The league has experienced several highs and lows on his watch but by nearly all measures is healthier than when he got the job.

The game has grown in popularity and global reach since Stern became commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984. Back then the league was simply trying to gain a foothold as one of the popular sports leagues in the U.S.

Now the NBA is popular enough that one of the main priorities for Stern’s successor, Adam Silver, is to continue to expand its international footprint. At the request of the league’s board of governors Stern will remain available to help with that effort after his tenure as commissioner ends.

Silver, 50, has been deputy commissioner since July 2006. Stern has groomed him to take over the job and the board of governors unanimously decided to negotiate a contract with Silver. The approval of the contract next April is expected to be a formality.

“I’m enormously honored and thrilled, and appreciate the transition period that David is providing me,” said Silver, who has been an NBA executive for 20 years. “ So I’ll have the next 15 months for yet even more on-the-job training working directly with David.”

When Stern succeeded Larry O’Brien as commissioner, the NBA wasn’t far removed from having its weekday finals games broadcast on network tape delay. Nearly 30 years later, the the Heat-Thunder finals last spring set viewership records for ABC.

The NBA remained popular in spite of a lockout that forced the league to play a truncated, 66-game schedule in 2011-12. That was the second lockout on Stern’s watch, following a 1998 labor impasse that cost the league 32 games.

Other low points during Stern’s tenure have included a referee gambling scandal, a handful of players banned or suspended for drug use and the brawl between players and fans at the Pistons’ arena.

But, on balance, there’s been more good news than bad for the NBA during Stern’s time as commissioner.

Stern said the new labor agreement, which either side can opt out of after the 2016-17 season, has led to shorter contracts for players and what he eventually believes will be more competitive balance among teams. The league this month played seven exhibition games in six international cities and recently opened offices in Brazil and India.

Stern said the league is in “terrific” shape with season-ticket renewals for this season at a record 86 percent and extensive sponsorship agreements.

“For the most part it has been a series of extraordinary experiences, and enormous putting together of pieces of a puzzle, and it goes on for forever,” Stern said. “There will always be another piece of the puzzle, so the question is, at what point do you decide that, you know, let somebody else do it?”

116 comments Add your comment

grimey

October 25th, 2012
8:07 pm

Finally the league can become pure again

paian

October 25th, 2012
8:30 pm

Ikr b/c its so grimey

GT4Life (the original)

October 25th, 2012
9:01 pm

Finally…and good riddance

Rev in Tampa

October 25th, 2012
9:20 pm

MC,

Good to read one of your articles on the blog. I’ve come to appreciate C-Viv and his power-blogging style, but I love your knowledge and passion for the NBA.

drmaryb.(""_*).

October 25th, 2012
9:28 pm

Rev in Tampa

Wassup Rev? I see Tampa Bay Bucs are ballin’ tonight. Let’s Go Bucs!!!! LOL

beone

October 25th, 2012
9:48 pm

Stepping down in 2014, not 2004.

[...] TimesNBA commissioner David Stern to retire in 2014Houston Chronicle (blog)SportingNews.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -NOLA.comall 940 news [...]

[...] Chronicle (blog)David Stern stepping down in 2014 as NBA commissionerUSA TODAYYahoo! Sports -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 942 news [...]

[...] progressLos Angeles TimesNBA commissioner David Stern to retire in 2014Houston Chronicle (blog)Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -SportingNews.com -FS Floridaall 943 news [...]

Melvin

October 25th, 2012
10:18 pm

Stern has over a year left before he retires. This shouldn’t be news. Now back to the Hawks.

JustSayinB

October 25th, 2012
10:36 pm

Next-NFL Commish.

[...] down as NBA commissioner in 2014; Adam Silver will take …Yahoo! SportsUSA TODAY -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 949 news [...]

[...] TimesStern to step aside in 2014; Silver to replace himNBA.comHouston Chronicle (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -NOLA.comall 949 news [...]

Unbelievable

October 26th, 2012
12:06 am

The fact that Gary Betteman – NHL commish- outlasted Stern speaks volumes on how messed up the NHL is. Stern looks like Warren Buffet compared to Betteman who ran his league into the ground.

Hypocritical

October 26th, 2012
12:09 am

Ironic dont u think, a lil Jewish guy acting like a Natzi Dictator…..good riddance.

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
1:51 am

Suggestion:

Some of these NBA teams are deep as “H-E- double hockey sticks” [H.E.L.L] especially at a particular position. I think the NBA should consider expanding the game to 60 [regulation] minutes; that would average out to 15 minutes per quarter. This would allow for more playing time for reserves and would [also] be beneficial for teams that are “loaded” or “thick” at a specific position. For example, most NBA teams feature two guards [a point guard and a shooting guard] in their starting lineups. In a 48-minute regulation game, some NBA teams may have four or five quality guards that have to split [or compete for a portion of] 96 minutes [of playing time] at one of the two “guard positions” but, in a 60-minute regulation game, those same NBA teams with four or five quality guards now have 120 minutes to split/divide at the “guard position[s].” “Food for thought.”

Let’s take a look at the Sacramento Kings. At the present time, the Kings [team] has the following [quality] guards on its roster: Tyreke Evans – G, Isaiah Thomas – G, Aaron Brooks – G, Marcus Thornton – G, Jimmer Fredette – G, Francisco Garcia – G/F and John Salmons – G/F. I guess we’ll [get to] see how “intelligent” Coach [Keith] Smart really is in managing this dilemma of having so many quality guards on his team [pun (was) greatly intended].

http://www.nba.com/kings/roster/2012
———————————————————————————————–

96 mins. / 3 guards = 32 mins. per guard [player]
96 mins. / 4 guards = 24 mins. per guard [player]
96 mins. / 5 guards = 19.2 mins. per guard [player]

120 mins. / 3 guards = 40 mins. per guard [player]
120 mins. / 4 guards = 30 mins. per guard [player]
120 mins. / 5 guards = 24 mins. per guard [player]

vava74

October 26th, 2012
2:50 am

High-sider,

Everyone would be bored to death.

With that extra playing time would come extra commercials and games would last 3 hours plus.

vava74

October 26th, 2012
3:29 am

And the league’s talent is already watered down due to the excessive number of franchises (Stern’s most negative legacy), so more minutes would mean more minutes watching Petro and the likes…

YUK!!!

vava74

October 26th, 2012
3:32 am

Not to insist on the matter but Silver’s last name is probably a declination of Silverberg.

NBA goes from one Jew to another. Don’t expect anything more than $$ to be in the mind of the new commissioner.

Too many franchises, too many games = less quality and less interest.

Last year’s lockout actually created more apetite for the game and I actually liked a shorter season.´

I think we should go back to 70 game seasons and cut 1 month of competition.

Less injuries, less wear and tear which should mean that veteran players could extend their careers a bit, thus improving the overall quality in the league, IMO.

vava74

October 26th, 2012
3:35 am

The Mavs picked up E. Curry, for the ones who are interested in knowing.

vava74

October 26th, 2012
4:50 am

What I think the league should really do is to institute a real minor league system and have all teams carry a 24 men roster with “Active” and “Reserve” players.

Under this system, each team could have up to 8 players with “minor league/reserve” contracts (at a moderate cost), being this option restricted to players under 26 years and less than 3 years experience with “big league/ full NBA contracts” contracts.

With possible exceptions for players who during those 3 years of NBA roster experience never logged sufficient minutes due to injury (this would allow for low risk reclamation projects of players with injury issues).

Also, these players could only be with the same team under that regime for a maximum of 3 years.

ag

October 26th, 2012
7:38 am

I agree VaVa, 12 minutes is enough. I do like the idea of the minor league system. It may never be implemented because college basketball will be as irrelevant as college baseball.

Sam

October 26th, 2012
8:44 am

What is the difference in David Stern having a fairwell season and Chipper Jones having one? What could it hurt? Even J.A. Adande on ESPN.com had a positive spin on Stern’s tenure as NBA commish.

Tiffani

October 26th, 2012
9:46 am

Hey Mikey, there’s a huge error in this article…does anyone at AJC proofread? Smh…

aprilglaspie

October 26th, 2012
9:50 am

Stern should have been canned when he made the horrendous decision to suspend Phoenix Suns players when Big Shot Bob Horry and Bruce Bowen assaulted Steve Nash. That was bullshinola in the near vicinity of Selig giving World Series home field to the League that wins the Allstar exhibition. Stupid, biased and cash-driven. No San Antonio player was suspended. Bogus as hell.

vava74

October 26th, 2012
10:38 am

Stern was a good Commissioner for the NBA but only up to a certain point.

The NBA, like it or not, is a business and must be run like a business.

The sport is the product being sold and the product is “packed” and “worked” to sell and with that come some serious sacrifices.

wordsmithtom

October 26th, 2012
11:06 am

Not to pass judgment on Stern, but even PT Barnum had to retire. Time for new blood. Someone who really understands the younger players and younger audiences. Stern is over the hill. His handling on the lockout/strike followed up with a hurry-up halfass season proves it.

hawksfancents95

October 26th, 2012
12:02 pm

Its to bad Stern retires and passes the torch to Adam Silver. Silver is Stern from 25 years ago. I see the NBA as staying the same it has been, manipulating things from the top down to maximize profit. I understand making profit and doing whatever possible to bring in new fans and revenue but I don’t like the way they(Stern and Silver) do it, just look at the chris paul to LAL trade that got denied, that was the worst thing i’ve ever seen they had complete interest in that trade as the nba took over New Orleans and blocked a trade that NO management wanted to happen. Also dont forget about the ping pong balls that no one is allowed to see how they fall but stern and silver, NO gets #1 pick just in time for the franchise to be sold??? hmmmm.

We need a different commish than Sterns right hand man. NBA has so much room for improvement.

vava74

October 26th, 2012
12:20 pm

Yeah, the hidden ping pong balls is THE issue which smells the most rotten… it’s crooked like hell.

Buddy G

October 26th, 2012
1:02 pm

hawksfancents95 do you really still think Stern is out to get the Lakers after what happened this summer? The Lakers had zero assets to send to Orlando. On top of that, Orlando took on Al Harrington’s bad contract, one of the worst in the NBA. They got zero assets in that trade and took on bad salary. But you know who does have the ability to deliver assets to Orlando? 2014 #1 overall pick… taking bets now… it’s going to Orlando.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 26th, 2012
1:35 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

October 26th, 2012
1:38 pm

In other news, Northcyde’s boy Jarvis Varnado got waived by Miami. I have never seen him play but I’d still rather have him around than Petro.

kwooden1

October 26th, 2012
2:08 pm

I definitely respect what Stern did in the past, especially getting Nike and the other shoe companies to really endorse the stars, but over the last few years he’s missed the boat. He really needed to take better advantage of the popularity of the Sport in Europe and now China, by encouraging ESPN and others to show the foreign games. Use the other leagues as minor leagues for the NBA! The salary system should have been fixed during the last lockout, with a Salary cap and even shorter contracts. There clearly needs to be less Regular season games and less Playoff Games also. Hopefully the league will get itself in a better financial situation this year as the new bargaining agreement rules start to kick-in, but they certainly didn’t go far enough to me.

Sautee

October 26th, 2012
2:16 pm

“Not to insist on the matter but Silver’s last name is probably a declination of Silverberg.”

“NBA goes from one Jew to another. Don’t expect anything more than $$ to be in the mind of the new commissioner.” – vava74

Holy sh_t vava, that’s the most racist thing I’ve seen on this blog. Hell, I’m Protestant by raising, but I’m extremely offended by that. Are you no more enlightened than to think that every Jewish person is more concerned with money than with life?

Maaaaaaan that’s disgusting. I guess I’ll scroll from now on when I see your handle.

But first, let me say: That’s pitiful on your part, and beneath you. I’m disappointed, because I thought you were better than that.

kwooden1

October 26th, 2012
2:21 pm

I finally got around to watching the HAWKS/Mavs game and was definitely impressed by Harris’s defensive and activity. (I thought he might be finished, but he’s got stuff left in the tank) If we can keep all three PGs healthy, we should be able to play enough perimeter defense to get ourselves to the Playoffs. Obviously Al and Josh will have to stay healthy, but I think those guys will benefit from the faster pace because they won’t have to bang in the post as long. At this point I think I’m resigned to the fact that LD is going to start Korver several games at SF and just roll the dice on the defensive end. We’re clearly going to have serious problems with Korver starting against good teams, but I think at that point LD will probably go with Stevenson or Tolliver. Personally, I would start DJames at SF because of his defense and rebounding, but I don’t expect LD to go that direction.

doc

October 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

yeah sautee. just dont say mv7 is anything but a great qb and see how you get branded even if it is based purely on performance. nobody burped on that one did they? not even the most sensitive. dont you think the experience would then generalize to all races, creeds and religion? anti-semitism flies, i guess.

doc

October 26th, 2012
2:37 pm

btw greed, bypasses all races, creeds and religions by my experience starting at the top rung of the hierarchy. it is like it is imbued, maybe, in the human experience. ;-)

vava74

October 26th, 2012
3:01 pm

Sautee,

I am not a racist at all. I respect the Jews, but know that their culture is $$ oriented.

Sautee

October 26th, 2012
3:14 pm

vava,

Perhaps you should do some research. ALL races are $$ oriented. You are showing your ignorance when you ascribe that to any one race. And keeping a negative stereotype alive.

Are you next going to say that African-Americans are watermelon oriented? That’s just how insensitive your remark was.

I’m shocked by your lack of sensitivity within your statement. As I said, I expected better from you.

YOU may think you are not a racist, but you are speaking like the ignorant white males I grew up around, and learned to despise for their lack of understanding (and / or concern) for the damage their words had.

C’est la vie, I guess. (sigh)

Rev in Tampa

October 26th, 2012
3:29 pm

Dang! David Stern is not quietly slipping into retirement. I can’t imagine what possessed him to say this in this hyper-charged election season:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82939.html?hp=r11

Buddy Grizzard

October 26th, 2012
3:35 pm

Najeh Mike Woodson is going to be a favorite among young players… probably just got Zaza in trouble with his wife though.

Buddy Grizzard

October 26th, 2012
3:38 pm

Rev calm down! Stern was just critiquing Obama’s game!

Rev in Tampa

October 26th, 2012
3:56 pm

Buddy, I’m not upset that David Stern is saying it. In fact, I think it is funny. I am just remarkably surprised. David Stern stands to gain nothing from these comments. But he will get loads of grief for saying it. It is being reported by Politico and is a headline on Drudgereport. It is being used politically – which will not be good for Stern.

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
4:04 pm

To: vava74, Sautee, doc and other bloggers

If racial/gender/creed/color under-representation within an organization is “frowned upon” and shows a lack of diversity, does racial/gender/creed/color over-representation within an organization also show a lack of diversity? Please refer to the links below regarding Jewish ownership in the NBA and the Jewish population [demographics] in the United States and the Middle East. If I ask the question, “how can a small ethnic/religious minority have such a huge influence and control in the entertainment, media, political and banking system[s]?”, does that question make me a racist [or an anti-semite]?

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
4:04 pm

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
4:05 pm

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

I didn’t write the article. Don’t attack the messenger; attack the author.

High-sider

October 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

Rev in Tampa and Buddy Grizzard,

FYI, President Obama is left-handed but I suspect pun was greatly intended on [David] Stern’s part. [LOL]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handedness_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States

Sautee

October 26th, 2012
4:26 pm

“If I ask the question, “how can a small ethnic/religious minority have such a huge influence and control in the entertainment, media, political and banking system[s]?”, does that question make me a racist [or an anti-semite]?” – High-Sider

IMO, the question itself is not racist. But if you said (or think) that those folks had such influence BECAUSE they were Jews, in my view, THAT would be a racist statement.

We are getting way too close to having a Plutocracy in this country, which is why the Occupy movement even began. There are undoubtedly many Jews among the 1%, but to ascribe that kind of greed to an entire race because of a few is madness, and extremely ignorant, IMHO.

doc

October 26th, 2012
5:22 pm

vava, historically their race became the money changers because early christianity didnt allow it. my that changed with the reformation! now somehow capitalism is hand in hand with christianity. bizare since nothing in christianity supports a capitalistic society. there is no foundation to what you say except they as a race have had to be very self reliant. it is even down to their dna and a vibration in the jewish pulse exam because of the innate self vigilance required to be a jew throughout history.

h-s that is a total lack of reasoning or perverse reasoning on that one. i would say maybe a foundation of a hard work ethic and combined with a high intelligence might be why they have been such a collective force on world matters and consequently drew fearful actions from others. i know plenty of devout jews that focus their lives only on living by their laws and within the view of cherishing their families and community first and foremost not making money. if they dont happen to be on as many social handout lists it isnt because they are greedy. maybe it is more they treasure education, family and working within the laws of their faith to make them richer in a far greater context. that idea many here wont get because they tend to simplify and rather than take responsibility for their place in life would rather suggest it is someone else’s fault.

you know h-s i dont care what someone wrote, i can only suggest since you dont repudiate it by silence you agree. you are more the messenger by standing there just as many did watching instead of acting during the civil rights movement. if that is your place then so be it, weak and cowardly. if you want to speak then speak in your own words.

my point is if one is truly against persecution then they see it for everyone. until then, i warn they will continue to suffer. i saw it at an early age and will always speak out to social injustice. my first lessons came with the dissonance i saw with my heart between races before grade school raised in the south. it was in my heart. i really wont convince anyone through their minds; it can only happen in your hearts. good luck my friends.