Global games proud accomplishment of Stern
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
First things first, David Stern isn’t having any second thoughts.
The NBA Commissioner who has spent the past three decades building this basketball empire will still step down on Feb. 1, handing the playbook that worked so well over to his handpicked successor, deputy commissioner Adam Silver. It’s been more than 50 years since he had a break in his schedule, and Stern – who spoke to USA TODAY Sports as training camps opened around the league – is more than ready for retirement.
“Someone asked me today, when was the last time that you didn’t have to do something?” said Stern, who was hired as NBA general counsel in 1978 and became commissioner in 1984. “I think it was when I went to camp as a teenager. You go to college (at Rutgers), and you hustle to get into law school (Columbia), then you go to law school and you hustle to get a job, and you get a job and you hustle to become a partner, and you step into the NBA, and Lord knows it washes over you.”
As the preseason begins on Saturday in Istantbul, Turkey with a matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Turkish team, Fenerbahce Ulker, it’s a fitting way for Stern to start his final stretch of his tenure.
The globalization of the game, a push that started with when the Washington Bullets faced Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel in 1978 and will continue with a record number of teams playing international games this season (12), is on Stern’s short-list of accomplishments for which he is most proud.
Stern, a New York native who grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey as the son of a deli owner, took over back when some playoff games were still being aired on tape delay. He now stewards a league that boasts revenues surpassing $5 billion and record popularity, wasn’t sure how far the NBA’s reach could go when he first started this global mission.
“I think it’s an old business lesson – you sense that there’s an opportunity, but anyone who tells you that they know the … [For more on NBA global games a proud accomplishment of David Stern, click here.]