SBJ/20100524/Sports Business Awards

Stern: Sports has the power to help

NBA Commissioner David Stern told the assembled leaders of the sports industry that sports’ power extends well beyond the playing field.

“We know we can use sports to sell everything from beer to breakfast cereal,” said Stern, who launched his league’s NBA Cares cause-related initiative in 2005, “but we realized a long time ago that we have the power to engage the world in any conversation, from AIDS to immigration, because we are sports.”

“We’ve come to understand that our
business is not just business.”
—David Stern,
NBA Commissioner

During a presentation titled “The Power of Sports: Doing Right, Making a Difference,” Stern encouraged the audience not to lose sight of its social responsibility.

“We’ve come to understand that our business is not just business, that we are aligned by our positions in sports to be leaders in social responsibility,” he said. “As an industry we have taken that role, and I am very proud to be a member of this industry because of that.”

As the government looks to the private sector for more help, Stern noted that sports has the ability to help. “It has been demonstrated to me time and time again that even as corporate entities we can do well by doing good,” Stern said.

After his presentation, Stern was specifically asked about how leagues should address the immigration controversy in Arizona.

“It’s an interesting question,” he said. “Our Phoenix Suns made an interesting statement that was more one of empathy with the people there who might have felt singled out. We can always be empathetic — all sports leagues.”

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