David Stern, who built the NBA into a powerhouse during his 30 years as commissioner, has died, the league announced on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 1.
The 77-year-old Stern had been hospitalized following surgery in December after he suffered a brain hemorrhage at a Manhattan restaurant. He was surrounded by his wife, Dianne, and family at the time of his death, the league said.
Stern took over the NBA in 1984. At the time, current commissioner Adam Silver said the league was "at a crossroads."
"But over the course of 30 years as commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA," Silver said in a statement. "He launched ground-breaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world."
Stern started with the NBA in 1966 as an outside counsel, became general counsel in 1978, and the league's executive vice president in 1980. He succeeded Larry O'Brien as commissioner four years later.
Added Silver: "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 a beneficiary of David’s vision, generosity, and inspiration."
Stern was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
In addition to his wife, Stern is survived by sons Andrew and Eric, and their extended family.
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