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David Stern, NBA’s commissioner for 30 years, dies at 77

NEW YORK (AP) — 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. 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.

“A visionary whose leadership brought basketball to new communities and different continents, David saw the potential for our sport to be an agent of positive change around the globe, ultimately propelling the NBA to become one of the most prosperous and influential, as well as diverse professional sports leagues in the world with the creation of the WNBA,” the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury released a joint statement.

“His stewardship helped transform the pro basketball landscape in Arizona, granting downtown Phoenix two NBA All-Star Weekends and naming the Mercury as one of the eight original WNBA franchises.”


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