Commissioner Stern to Step Down, Leaves Legacy of Massive Growth, Internationalization

by Jeff Tzucker

October 25, 2012

According to multiple reports, including NBA.com and ESPN, NBA Commissioner David Stern will retire on February 1, 2014. The date is 30 years to the day after he began his tenure as NBA commissioner. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will succeed him.

"I don't know what else to say other than to recite what I told the owners yesterday in executive session," Stern said. "I told them that it's been a great run, it will continue for another 15 months, that the league is in, I think, terrific condition."

See Photos of David Stern Through the Years »

The move by Stern allows plenty for a smooth transition, but also raises the question of Why the long wait? The reasons could be many—he's not quite ready to step down, he likes the symbolism of 30 years to the day, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. Regardless of why, Stern's retirement will mark the end of an era: NBA fans 40 years old and younger have never truly known another NBA commission. Frankly, I doubt any of those fans could even tell you who the prior NBA commissioner was without the help of a friend called "google". That's how long he's been around.

The game has grown tremendously under Stern's reign: He ushered the sport from a U.S.-dominated game whose Finals games were often tape delayed to an international game with 24-7 coverage on a variety of media outlets.

"You'll be remembered as the best of all-time," Silver told Stern, sitting to his left on a podium during a news conference.

Indeed, Mr. Silver, he very well may.