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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

David Stern’s Legacy


Image courtesy of ericrichardson on Flickr




It was a sad day for many NBA fans when David Stern announced he will resign as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014. Some were shocked, and others saw it coming. But the question is, what kind of legacy will Stern leave behind? 

When Stern retires it will be 30 years to the day that he became the commissioner of the league, and with that he will become the longest-tenured one as well. He has seen the NBA through a noteworthy era. Many argue that without him we wouldn’t have had the major outbreak of popularity for the league in the 80s, when players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan became household names. It was Stern who brought the NBA to local television. He did his best to market the association, and it worked. He promoted and created sponsorships with brands like Nike. He turned the game into a global phenomenon.

Players from all over the world wanted to play in the NBA, thanks to Stern’s determination to make the league popular. He helped the NBA’s rise in numbers of ratings and teams. His contribution to the game of basketball did wonders for the country and the rest of the world as well.  

But, although none can deny Stern’s legacy, it might be flawed by some questionable actions. 

People pointed fingers at Stern over the Tim Donaghy scandal. Donaghy, an NBA referee, went to prison in 2008 for betting on games that he officiated at. It caused huge controversy and tarnished the league’s reputation. People haven’t fully gotten over it to this day. Although Stern had no first-hand involvement, there were accusations that he knew about the rogue official but didn’t take action. He assured fans that it was a mistake, and that would never happen again, but there are still skeptics out there. 

Another major controversy was the NBA lockout of 2011. The league owners, whom Stern represented, could not come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association. Throughout the whole process, Stern appeared greedy and self-centered. Many were shocked at the way he handled the situation, showing no real sympathy towards the fans and putting little effort into bringing the league back. However, a deal was finally reached, and in the long run Stern didn’t come across as THAT bad of a guy.

Say what you want about David Stern but the bottom line is, the man is good at what he does or he wouldn’t have been the commissioner for 30 years. His media presence helped elevate the NBA to new heights. His replacement groomed by Stern as his successor, the current deputy commissioner Adam Silver, will have big shoes to fill once Stern leaves the NBA.