Saturday was David Stern’s last day as the Commissioner of the NBA and so the new era begins under Adam Silver.
Like any Commissioner at the helm for a long time (and Stern has been since 1984), Stern has done some great things and well, some not so great things. Most recently, he’s taken some heat due to Seattle losing their team, rejecting the Chris Paul trade to the L.A. Lakers and the 2011 NBA Lockout.
However, Stern deserves to be remembered in a positive light. Here are the three biggest reasons why.
1. The NBA has become a big business
Whether this would’ve occurred no matter who was in charge is unknown, but we do know Stern did it, so he deserves some credit here. And Stern has done it in so many ways.
Stern has expanded the number of teams in the league, bringing basketball to more places around the U.S. In his tenure, Stern has brought teams to Miami, Minnesota, Toronto and Charlotte. This gives more chances for players as well as fans to enjoy the game.
The monetary value of all NBA teams has skyrocketed. When Stern took over, a team was worth about $20 million. Now? A team would cost you about $400 million, and that might be considered a good deal considering that the Warriors sold for $450 million in 1995. That’s a dramatic increase, to say the least.
On the multimedia side, there has been a great increase in the amount of games on television. Now, somebody can watch just about every game on TV. In addition, he quickly brought the NBA into the information age, showing clips on the Internet
2. The NBA has gone global
When Stern took over, basketball was big in the U.S., but it wasn’t in the rest of the world. Even now, soccer is the most popular, but basketball is growing and played around the world.
Many players came to play in the NBA, such as greats Vlade Divac, Tony Kukoc, Manu Ginobli, Dikembe Mutombo and Yao Ming. Just last week, German Dirk Nowitzki was named to his 12th all-star game. Bringing these players to America opened up the game of basketball to places such as Europe, South America and China.
Now, the NBA is beginning to expand its borders even further, thanks to Stern. NBA teams have played a few games overseas and new owner of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadive, has begun televising the games in India.
3. Stern Launched Women’s Basketball in America with the WNBA
Before the WNBA, women could play basketball in the Olympics, but it was never a full-time job in the U.S. Thanks to Stern, now it is. The longest lasting professional league in U.S. history began in 1997 and 17 years later, young girls have the option to look up to female basketball players as well as men.
With players like Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Candace Parker and Brittany Griner (just to name a few), the WNBA is the most competitive women’s basketball league in the world. Under Stern, the league has grown dramatically and is the only women’s league in the nation to actually receive national attention. Plus, in the last year, the league signed a new deal with ESPN and as a whole was profitable.
Stern has expanded the audience for basketball, giving the joy of watching to people all over the world, no matter what race or gender the person is.