NBA Commissioner David Stern set to retire in 2014
The NBA’s superstar commissioner, David Stern, will step down on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years to the day that he became the league’s top honcho and began an era of unprecedented growth for his league, its owners and players. Stern made his announcement at the end of the two-day Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan, at which the 30 owners unanimously agreed to make deputy commissioner Adam Silver the new NBA boss. The succession had been in the works for a while, with Stern saying last February that he wanted Silver, his right-hand man the last six years and with the league for 20 seasons, to succeed him as the NBA’s fifth commissioner. The plan is to make the 50-year-old Silver’s ascension official in April once his new contract is finalized. “It’s been a great run and it will continue for another 15 months,’’ said Stern, who turned 70 last month. “I’d like think I did an adequate job, but one of the best things I did was to provide a successor. I could not be happier to know that I will be succeeded by Adam. I look forward to doing other things.’’ But as Stern was quick to add, “I’m stepping down, but I am not retiring.’’ The league will continue to use Stern in an advisory role in its international business side. Expanding the NBA into a highly-profitable global sports brand has been one of his top achievements, along with taking a once-struggling league and turning it a huge money-maker, mainly via record TV contracts. Under Stern, the NBA’s deals with TV networks grew 40-fold, growing it from a mom-and-pop operation to a $4-billion-per-year industry. The growth has helped raise the average player’s salaries from $250,000, when Stern took over in 1984, to what is projected to be $5 million in the near future. “There’s no doubt that you’ll be remembered as the best of all time, not just as a commissioner but also as a CEO,’’ Silver told Stern during the press conference. “You set the standard.’’ Under Stern, the league also had its share of labor pains, including two lockout-shortened seasons, with one coming just last season.