While other sports were slow to integrate both on and off the field, David Stern and the NBA led the way in hiring African-American head coaches and general managers.
During his three-decade tenure as commissioner of the National Basketball Association David Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing and digital technology. But perhaps his greatest legacy, which he attributes to his administrative colleagues and the players themselves, is one of diversity. When other sports were slow to integrate both on and off the field, the NBA led the way in hiring African-American head coaches and general managers.
David Stern completed his three-decade tenure as NBA commissioner on February 1, 2014.
As commissioner, Mr. Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing and digital technology. He oversaw the NBA’s extraordinary growth with seven new franchises, a more than 30-fold increase in revenues, a dramatic expansion of national television exposure and the launch of two leagues, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League. He implemented the first anti-drug agreement in professional sports and introduced the salary cap system and revenue sharing to the NBA.
The NBA experienced tremendous global growth during Mr. Stern’s tenure, and that growth continues today: The NBA has 12 offices outside the United States; its games and programming are televised and streamed in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages; and it offers fans 18 international online destinations. The NBA was the first U.S. professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside North America, and the league has played nearly 150 international preseason and regular-season games to date.
Mr. Stern also oversaw the launch of the leagues’ digital assets, including NBA.com, WNBA.com, and NBADLeague.com; social media platforms; NBA LEAGUE PASS; NBA TV; and mobile applications, all of which reach hundreds of millions of fans every day.