SBD/January 31, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

In His Own Words: David Stern Reflects On 30-Year Tenure As NBA Commissioner



Stern said the '92 Dream Team had the biggest impact on global expansion
NBA Commissioner David Stern, whose 30-year tenure ends Friday, was in attendance at Thursday night's at Cavaliers-Knicks game and spoke with TNT's Craig Sager about a range of topics spanning his career. Stern said of his 30-year tenure, "I'm proud of the fact that our players, who didn't used to be so well regarded, are now at the top and they're at top because of what they do on the court and off the court." Stern said of the biggest contribution to expanding the NBA's global appeal, "It was the Dream Team in 1992. We had a few international players, we had a few international markets." Stern, on whether trying to use a synthetic basketball during the '06-07 season was his biggest mistake: "Actually, I've made so many that that's just one of a group, but nobody will know the difference some day." Stern said he was "going to miss the people of the NBA." When asked about influence of the dress code he implimented at the start of the '05-06 season, Stern said, "The dress code required a shirt with a collar, a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes. Our guys are so great. Now they went over the top, and if you read GQ or Vanity Fair there they are. They're the fashion plates of the world." Stern: "I'm going to miss being in the middle of all the people. But I won't miss my calendar." Stern said after retirement, he and his wife will "ski, we're going to hike, we're going to play tennis." He said he will also give speeches,teach and do "some consulting." Stern said, "I'm going to keep very busy. I have to go to an office" ("Cavaliers-Knicks," TNT, 1/30).

PROUD PAPA: Asked about his retirement, Stern said, “Actually, it feels very good because I’m watching my colleagues who have sort of grown up on my watch. They’re all ready to go on to bigger and better things.” He added, “I am most proud that my colleagues and I understand that sports has a way of crystallizing discussions about issues.” Stern said of dilemmas faced during his tenure, “You just get up in the morning and you do what you have to do and you get ready to keep growing, almost certain that there will be some crisis, because the morning newspaper always brings something new and interesting” (“Unguarded With Rachel Nichols,” CNN, 1/24).

WORDS OF WISDOM:'s Jack McCallum conducted a Q&A with Stern. Stern said of incoming Commissioner Adam Silver, "Adam will be sending me to two or three places where business might be done and where they have an appropriate amount of respect for somebody with white hair." He added, "Another friend who's also retiring said to me, 'You know, David, there will always be another mountain to climb. And you have to come to the realization that someone else will climb it.'" Asked if there was a specific "punch year" when things took off for the league, Stern said, "Maybe 1989, when we signed a new TV deal with NBC? That was the marketplace recognizing for the first time the strides we had made." Asked if at first he was involved in managing all aspects of the league, Stern said, "In the beginning, yes, I was a micromanager because it was necessary to set a standard for what this league could be. My sense was that we needed to be -- and could be -- so much better than we were, that we could raise our game off the court" (, 1/30).
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