David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died on New Year’s Day. He was 77.
The league says Stern died Wednesday with his family by his side. He suffered a brain hemorrhage Dec. 12 and underwent emergency surgery.
Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before he became its fourth commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984.
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By the time he left his position in 2014, a league that had struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion a year industry and made NBA basketball perhaps the world’s most popular sport after soccer.
Stern had a hand in nearly every initiative to do that, including drug testing, the salary cap and implementation of a dress code.
The trained lawyer helped the league become televised in more than 200 countries and territories, and in more than 40 languages.
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