NEW YORK, Oct. 25 -- NBA Commissioner David Stern today announced that Russ Granik will be stepping down as NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, after a 30-year career in the league office, the last 22 as the second-in-command. The announcement was made in conjunction with the annual meeting of the NBA Board of Governors, taking place October 25 and 26 in New York City.

After this season, Granik will serve as a senior advisor to the Commissioner and continue to be the league’s principal representative with USA Basketball and Chairman of the Board of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Russ and I have worked together on a daily basis for 29 years, and everyone in the NBA family is well aware of the enormity of his contributions to the success and growth of the league during that time. For over two decades, Russ has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the league,” said Stern. “Among his many contributions, Russ was the NBA’s chief negotiator for the last four collective bargaining agreements and was involved in every other major business transaction, including network television contracts, since 1980. He has also overseen our expansion from 22 to 30 teams.

“Russ discussed with me his desire to step down as Deputy Commissioner once our collective bargaining negotiations were concluded, but I persuaded him to stay on for an additional season. He will be functioning as usual for the next eight months, but we agreed that it was appropriate to let the Board of Governors know his plans as far in advance as possible.”

According to Granik, “After we successfully concluded our last collective bargaining agreement in June, and with 6 years remaining on that agreement and 3 years left on our television contracts, I felt the time was right for me to get off the treadmill for a while. I greatly appreciate all the opportunities David and the NBA owners have afforded me for personal accomplishment in this job, and I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best executives and team owners in sports. I think the league has never been on a more firm foundation.”

Granik joined the NBA in 1976 as staff attorney. He became Assistant General Counsel in 1978, General Counsel in 1980 and Executive Vice President in 1984, succeeding David Stern when Stern was named Commissioner. In 1990, Granik was elected Deputy Commissioner by the NBA Board of Governors.

Granik has also played a major role in the NBA’s international expansion. From 1996-2000 he served as the President of USA Basketball. From 1989-1996, he was a Vice President of USA Basketball and was instrumental in the formation of the Dream Team in 1992 and the participation of NBA players in each succeeding Olympics.

Granik is the Chairman of the Board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where he has been a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee since 1984.