I was born in the golden age of the NBA (May 1992), and born around the time that some guy wearing #23 in a Chicago Bulls uniform was in the mist of winning his 2nd straight championship. The NBA was also reaching it’s highest popularity as a league, and it’s because of David Stern. Stern became commissioner of the NBA on February 1st, 1984, and honestly, he got a little lucky that the league was marketable around two stars named Magic and Larry (surely, you’ve heard of them), and also got lucky that the 1984 draft class is arguably the best draft class of all-time. Sometimes you not only need a little luck, but you have to be good at your job, and for the most part, Stern was excellent at his job.
Stern not only saved the NBA, he helped the NBA reached global highs in popularity. Stern let NBA players play in the olympics, which led to the Dream Team in the summer of 1992, took games off of tape delay (My grandparents told me a story one day about how they stayed up to watch game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals), and improved the culture of the NBA in time, such as adding a draft lottery in 1985 (which might have been rigged but that’s another story for another day). So sure, David Stern has done great things for the NBA. He did save the game that some of us watch and love, and has made games broadcasted all over the world. When he started as being the commissioner, NBA games were only shown in 2 countries. Now? Over 300 countries. The league makes 1 billion dollars, and he’s made stars such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant household names.
But here’s why I’m indifferent about David Stern retiring.
Sure, Stern is the best commissioner in all of sports right now, and that’s only because the other commissioners are just as more meh, as Stern is. There are plenty of situations that Stern could have handled a hell of a lot better. For example, the two lockouts didn’t help his cause, having the city of Seattle lose a basketball team after 40 years, and the way he handled that was truly pathetic. Then, the infamous #BasketballReasons trade that he vetoed as he was the “acting” owner of the New Orleans Hornets. Of course, I’m nitpicking here, but these types of things that happened in the NBA over his watch make me say “meh” instead of celebrating his success and achievements, and how he’s graced the NBA with it’s expansion as a league.
Stern is great, and in fact, he’s the best Commissioner in NBA history, not to mention, one of the greatest commissioners in sports history. I, I just don’t know. After the whole #BasketballReasons fiasco, and the way he handled it, I’ve been over David Stern as a commissioner. No, it’s not because I’m a Lakers fan (it might shock you, but I’m not bitter about it), and that trade veto changed the franchise, but it’s mainly because he made up an excuse to say that it wasn’t fair, even though the Hornets were going to have a better team at that time than they do now.
Everybody makes mistakes and not everybody does their job perfectly. But when people say that he’s the greatest commissioner ever, I sit and laugh because in the front of my head, I think about his mistakes than his achievements. Yes, the NBA is as popular as ever, more and more people are watching the game, and stars are becoming more and more global. However, before we crown him as being this almighty savior, let’s see what heights the game can go with Adam Silver as the commissioner.
Stern’s contributions to the game of basketball were great. He helped change how we see the NBA, and increased it’s popularity. But at the end of the day to me, I’m indifferent to him retiring. It’ll be weird seeing another commissioner, and I thank David Stern for helping a young person like me watch basketball and making games live for my generation, but it’s time for a new commissioner in the NBA.
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