Former NBA commissioner David Stern dies at 77

In this June 19, 1984 file photo, NBA commissioner David Stern, center, is flanked by Akeem Olajuwon, right, the No. 1 pick overall by the Houston Rockets, and Sam Bowie, the No. 2 pick overall by the Portland Trail Blazers at the NBA Draft in New York. David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. He was 77. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who helped build the basketball league into a global brand, died Wednesday less than three weeks after suffering a brain hemorrhage and undergoing emergency surgery. He was 77.

Stern was involved with the NBA for years before taking on the job of commissioner in 1984. He served in the position longer than anyone else, and by the time he left in 2014 he had helped make NBA basketball popular worldwide.

“Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand — making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time, but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation,” said Adam Silver, who succeeded Stern as commissioner.

“David Stern earned and deserved inclusion in our land of giants,” the National Basketball Players Association said.

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