David Stern’s 10 Best Moments During His Time As NBA Commissioner
David Stern's Top 10
Today, NBA commissioner David Stern is retiring from his post after 30 years on the job.
Adam Silver now takes over for Stern in today's game that features young superstars in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. That dream rivalry of today has not been seen in the NBA since Stern's first days with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
While most fans celebrate Stern's departure and mock his tenure, David Stern's place in the advancement of the NBA from his arrival to his departure will not be forgotten and should be celebrated.
Before Stern took over, the NBA was in such a disaster that the Finals were running on tape delay. Now, a major NBA regular season rivalry or a major playoff game is a can't miss event.
With the early help of Bird and Johnson along with Michael Jordan, Stern helped the NBA to not only survive its dark days but saw the league excel to the likes of which will never be seen again.
Stern has seen his fair share of poor moments. From the Tim Donaghy referee scandal to the Malice at the Palace brawl, Stern's time has not been perfect. Yet Stern has had more good moments than bad.
Stern's moves off the court have seen the league overtake MLB as the second most popular sport in America out of the four major sports.
David Stern, like he said before retiring, "left the league better than when he started."
Here now are my top 10 moments of the David Stern era.
10. The Supersonics Move To Oklahoma City
The most controversial selection here starts off the countdown.
The Seattle Supersonics and the city of Seattle, contrary popular belief, did not give enough support in helping the Sonics build a new arena. The former owners of the team sold the franchise to Clay Bennett from an Oklahoma business group. With the lack of support in Seattle, Stern let the franchise move to Oklahoma City and are now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Today that moves looks good as the Thunder and superstar Kevin Durant are among the best teams in the league as perennial contenders for the NBA championship.
9. NBA Teams Outside The United States
Despite limited success with the first two NBA teams outside the United States, Stern's moves in joining the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies into the NBA helped boost the international appeal of the game that would eventually reach the highest of levels today.
The Toronto Raptors are the only team outside the United States after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to become the Memphis Grizzlies.
Toronto, despite limited postseason success, has seen plenty of star power with the likes of Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh and now DeMar Derozan that have excited a very rabid fanbase.
8. Rookie Pay Scale
Stern was the first to see that a rookie pay scale was the best way for teams to deal with rookie contracts and potential holdouts.
While the NFL struggled with this issue up until recently, Stern put the pay scale in place in 1995. Along with his implementation of the salary cap in 1984, this allowed teams to stay competitive financially under one system.
7. Jason Collins' Announcement
When former Washington Wizards center Jason Collins came out this past April, Stern, like the Magic Johnson HIV announcement 1991, stood behind the players in his organization and supported Collins throughout the aftermath of the announcement.
Although Collins has yet to sign with another team and no other player has announced, Stern's support showed that the NBA wouldn't be discriminatory on any issues.
6. International Players
International players have now been a fixture on NBA rosters due to David Stern.
With programs such as basketball without borders, Stern has helped turn the NBA into a global game with numerous players representing foreign countries. Stars like Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker have excelled for championship teams.
5. Magic's HIV Announcement
Much like Collins' announcement in 2013, Stern supported superstar Magic Johnson during his ordeal with the HIV virus.
Despite players refusing to play against Johnson, Stern cleared Johnson to return to the 1992 NBA All-Star Game where he would be named MVP.
4. NBA Draft Lottery
Despite the speculation surrounding the New York Knicks winning the rights to Patrick Ewing, that year Stern put in place the NBA Draft Lottery to discourage teams from intentionally losing to get the best chance at selecting the best player in the country.
3. The Decision
LeBron James' "Decision" primetime special not only boosted TV ratings, but it also created more coverage for the NBA.
With James joining the Miami Heat, Stern indirectly benefited as the Heat became one of the most watched teams of all time. The added hatred of the "Big Three" also didn't hurt ratings for the game.
2. Formation Of The Dream Team
After the embarrassment of the 1988 Olympic team that finished with a bronze medal, Stern allowed NBA players into Olympic competition and the first "Dream Team" re-established the United States' dominance in the sport.
The Dream Team annihilated the competition and was the best collection of NBA talent to ever appear on one team.
1. Bird vs. Magic
Stern started his tenure in 1984, the year in which Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would compete in their first of three NBA Finals matchups. The Bird and Magic rivalry revitalized a league that was in trouble before Stern came into power, and the NBA reached heights that the league had never seen before.