In some saddening news on New Year Day, former NBA commissioner David Stern passed away at age 77 that came three weeks after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. That has presented an opportunity to look back on the positive impact that Stern had on the NBA in helping make it one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. It’s quite challenging to narrow down the list of things that he accomplished during his 30-year tenure as the NBA Commissioner. Nonetheless, here are a few of his most significant achievements over his illustrious career.
When Stern took over the commissioner, the NBA was hitting a rough patch that he had to navigate the entire league forward. One of those methods in helping improve the popularity and outreach was through the globalization of the game.
That saw the NBA take a dramatic shift in how things were operated in the Olympics as they began using their players to represent the United States in international competition. That opened the door to the formation of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, which impacted many around the globe to see their talented players like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.
For many, that was the first time that they saw players from the NBA on TV or live, and it left a significant imprint on the next generation of basketball players around the world. During this time, it saw many international talents over the years, such as Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Manu Ginobili, Dikembe Mutombo, and Yao Ming flourish in the league.
It is hard to fully state the tremendous amount of impact that this move had n helping the NBA become what it is today.
Multimedia Expansion for NBA
Another quality that Stern had that was quite crucial to the growth and popularity of the NBA was his willingness to embrace change. One major area that came in was advancements in technology as the league went full force, further exposing the association to the world through various new means.
Stern helped make the NBA product more available in multimedia content for the public. That saw the league put great use of the internet and embrace the use of social media by making highlights, clips, and interviews, among other things available for fans to consume online. It helped give fans the ability to follow their favorite teams and players more closely than previously before.
That is a trend the NBA has relied significantly upon even after Stern’s tenure to further expand its outreach across the globe with its ever-growing fans.
NBA Team Expansion
Back in 1984, when Stern agreed to step in as the commissioner, it was still a league that was looking for ways to branch off into more considerable popularity and outreach in the United States first and foremost.
In the years that have followed, the NBA has grown in size with the number of teams going from 23 to 30 over 20 years that saw them add franchises in different parts of the country. That began with the introduction of the Charlotte Hornets (New Orleans Pelicans) and Miami Heat in the late 1980s. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic followed that shortly after that. In the mid-1990s, the NBA added the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies (Memphis Grizzlies), which was lastly followed by the Charlotte Bobcats (Charlotte Hornets) in 2004.
The expansion of the league to what it has become now has opened up the opportunity for more players to play in the NBA while increasing the amount of income and number of total games played each year. That move has allowed international players to have a higher, ever-growing presence in the association.
Again, these are just a few of the crucial decisions that significantly impacted the league as he was one of the most influential figures in NBA history.