When you log on to this site, SB Nation’s NBA hub, any of our team sites or anything professional basketball related, none of this stuff was thinkable back in 1984, the year I was born.
1984 was also the year David Stern became NBA Commissioner. In his 30-year tenure, the NBA grew from a 23-team to a 30-team league and the league grew a worldwide following. Television contracts and online coverage grew exponentially to the point where fans can follow the league in tens of languages.
Stern was also was behind the WNBA’s launch in 1997 which has grown into the world’s most talented women’s professional basketball league. In short, Stern has played a major part turning the NBA from simply an American basketball league into the global force it is today.
I was saddened to hear that Stern collapsed while eating lunch at a restaurant in Midtown New York City on Thursday afternoon. After some initial tweets, the NBA released a statement in the evening that he suffered a “sudden brain hemorrhage” and received emergency surgery. According to WABC-TV of New York City, Stern was admitted to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital after he collapsed.
Stern was not a Wizards or a Mystics fan as far as I could tell over the years. However, if there was one act of goodwill Stern did for the fanbase in the nation’s capital, he personally picked Gilbert Arenas to the All-Star Game in 2006 after the then-Wizards superstar was initially snubbed. Yes, Stern suspended Arenas nearly four years later for the infamous gun incident in Dec. 2019, but long story short, that was ultimately for the best.
There is A LOT of speculation about Stern’s condition, but it’s clear that things aren’t going well. We will update this post later Friday mid to late morning should anything change in regard to his condition.
Professional basketball wasn’t easy to cover it back when I was born. But 35 years later, content is readily available online and the sport is in our minds year round, largely due to Stern’s vision. Thank you Commissioner Stern for helping make us the basketball fans we are today.