NEW YORK—David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, announced on Thursday that he will step down from his post on February 1, 2014. The date will mark his 30-year anniversary of accepting the position, which has solidified him as the longest-tenured commissioner in professional sports.
Stern made the announcement at the NBA’s Board of Governor’s meetings in New York City and assured everyone that he will remain devoted to operating the league until his retirement date arrives. Stern’s impact on the league can be measured by its improved success and cultural significance today.
Starting as a top attorney for the league in 1966, he eventually was promoted to commissioner in 1984. He helped expand the league from 23 teams to 30, enforced the implementation of drug testing, ensured that NBA players could participate in the Olympics and helped spearhead the establishment of the WNBA. Additionally, the league’s annual revenue from its television contract has increased 40 times and the average player salary has been boosted by more than $4 million during his tenure.
The plan is for deputy commissioner Adam Silver, 50, to be Stern’s successor. The league’s owners have already begun the negotiations with Silver and intend on endorsing his appointment at the board of governor’s meeting next April.
Silver has had experience in the power position as Stern selected him as the lead negotiator in the collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union. The negotiations effectively settled the lockout that hampered the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. The NBA’s 2012-2013 regular season begins October 30.
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