David Stern passed away on January 1, 2020. He completed his 30-year 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, television distribution 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 negotiated 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 was the first U.S. professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside North America.
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.
An intense commitment to social responsibility both in the United States and around the world marked Mr. Stern’s tenure as commissioner. Under his leadership, the league launched NBA Cares, a global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues.
Mr. Stern was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2014 and the International Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He was a 2013 recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, awarded by Harvard University in recognition of contributions to African and African-American culture, and a recipient of the Yale Executive Leadership Institute’s Legend in Leadership Award, which celebrates contemporary business leaders who have made transformational contributions across sectors. He was the chair emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia University and served on the boards of the Rutgers University Foundation, the NAACP, the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Paley Center for Media and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A native of New York City, Mr. Stern was a graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School.
Most recently, as CEO of DJS Global Advisors, Mr. Stern was a Senior Advisor to the NBA, investment bank PJT Partners, venture capital firm Greycroft Partners and PWC’s Entertainment and Media Advisory Practice, as well as an advisor to several sports technology start-ups.