After a 30 year reign atop the NBA, David Stern will step down as commissioner on February 1, 2014.
The average NBA player salary increased from $275,000 in the 1983-84 season (the year before Stern was named commissioner) to somewhere around $5 million today.
While that alone should label David Stern as a “player’s commissioner,” his name has instead become synonymous with the terms “controversy” and “boos.”
From the mandatory “business casual” dress code to the bizarre veto of the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, David Stern will go down as one of, if not the most controversial commissioner in sports history.
... as an outside counsel at law firm Proskauer Rose.
In 1978, Stern became the NBA's top lawyer when he was named the league's general counsel, and by 1980, Stern became executive vice president of the NBA.
As EVP, he helped institute a salary cap and drug testing.
Stern's first draft as NBA commissioner included future hall of famers Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockon.
With Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird carrying the NBA to new heights, Stern began adding new franchises.
The Charlotte Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans) and Miami Heat formed in 1988, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic began play the following year in 1989.
For the first time ever, NBA players were allowed to participate in the Olympics in the 1992 Summer Games.
The 'Dream Team' captivated an international audience as it crushed its opponents by an average of 43.8 points per game.
Two new Canadian franchises were added to the mix: the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors.
The WNBA was formed in 1996, and it has struggled mightily since its founding. Multiple teams have folded or relocated, and attendance has fluctuated year-over-year.
The NBA Development League came into existence in 2001, and it serves as the NBA's official minor league system.
After the Hornets franchise relocated to New Orleans, the NBA promised Charlotte an expansion team.
So, the city of Charlotte got the Bobcats in 2004.
The 'Malice in the Palace' resulted in the suspension of nine players, who also faced legal consequences outside of the NBA.
Ron Artest received the longest suspension in NBA history for an on-court incident.
High school players could no longer jump straight into the NBA Draft. Eligible draftees must be at least 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school graduation.
Throughout his reign as NBA commissioner, Stern oversaw four player lockouts and one referee lockout.
The NBA lockouts of 1995 and 1996 were resolved before the regular season even started, so no games were missed.
The lockouts of 1998 and 2011, however, resulted in shortened 50-game and 66-game seasons, respectively.
Stern also oversaw the NBA referee lockout of 2009 in which an agreement was made just days before the regular season tip-off.
Stern stirred up a huge pot of controversy when he vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers.
As radio host Jim Rome repeatedly pelted him with questions on whether the NBA rigged the draft lottery, David Stern quipped back with this line: 'Have you stopped beating your wife yet?'
Stern then proceeded to insult Jim Rome and his line of questioning throughout the interview.
This on-air tantrum unnecessarily diverted attention away from the NBA Finals between the Heat and Thunder to Stern and his vindictiveness.
... but the NBA Board of Governors voted to keep the Kings in Sacromento. Here's how Stern opened up a press conference announcing the vote:
'This is going to be short for me. I have a game to get to in Oklahoma City.'
The original Seattle team, by the way, moved to Oklahoma City. Intentional or not, Stern's poor choice of words made it seem like the NBA couldn't care any less about its fans in Seattle.
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