Today is February 1, 2014 and we all know what that means. Today is the day that David Stern is stepping down as the commissioner of the NBA. Why leave in the middle of the season you may ask? On Super Bowl Saturday nonetheless? It is exactly 30 years to the day that Stern took over as the commissioner of the NBA and that's how he wanted to leave. He already had his last farewell during last year's all-star game and didn't want any part of that this year.
Stern took over as the commissioner on February 1, 1984 and immediately had star players enter the league who still have a strong impact to this day. Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Charles Barkley and of course, Michael Jordan entered the league in the 1984 NBA Draft and been four of the best players to ever play the game. They helped put basketball on the map, they helped put people in the stands and they helped develop a generation of future basketball players.
Stern would be blessed by the high profile players making his job easier, but he did make a lot of tough and important decisions that have affected the way the NBA is today. Let's take a look at some of the things David Stern did, good and bad, during his tenure as commissioner.
- Relocated six franchises (Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Kings, Nets and Sonics).
- Added seven new franchises (Bobcats, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Magic, Raptors, Timberwolves)
- Devised a plan to implement a draft lottery, allowing non-playoff teams the chance at the number one pick in the draft.
- He implemented a dress code for players who were on the bench and not active for the game.
- Helped push NBA players to be able to play in the Olympics. Was very responsible for the 1992 "Dream Team".
- Went through four lockouts (1995, 1996, 1998, 2011) as he tried to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
Those are just some of the things that David Stern will be remembered for. He also worked with the NBA to buy a team (New Orleans) when they were in financial trouble and dealt with a gambling referee. Many things will define Stern's career, whether they are positive or negative.
A farewell letter to David Stern:
Though there have been some good times and some bad times, we thank you David Stern for all that you did for the NBA. From putting basketball on the grand stage to the draft lottery, there will be many things that people will admire you for, while others will look to criticize you. Your job was certainly difficult and you took a lot of flak from the media and the fans. However, you did a fine job considering the circumstances and how important your job was. Thank you for all that you did for the NBA and thank you for giving Toronto an NBA team.
Farewell, David Stern.
Stern will be replaced by Adam Silver, who was previously the NBA Deputy Commissioner. Silver, 51, is much more well-liked around the league through the media and fans, but it will be interesting if that remains to be true now that he has more control over the league.
Mark Tatum has taken over Silver's previous role of Deputy Commissioner.
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