The end of an era is near for the basketball world as NBA Commissioner David Stern announced he is going to retire February 1, 2014.
Stern will be replaced by the Board of Governors’ nominee, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
This is shocking because I thought Stern was going to be the figure head of the NBA until the world ended. Stern took his title a year and eight months (Feb. 1, 1984) before I was even born and has obviously been the only enforcer I have come to know and respect.
A lot of people give Stern a tough time because he is known as a stickler for punishment as he transcended American society’s high fines (traffic, taxes, etc.) into excruciating NBA fines for any wrong doing whether it be Ron Artest and the Indiana Pacers brawling in Detroit or Dennis Rodman kicking cameramen.
On the other hand, he should get a lot of credit for what the league has become–an international phenomenon highlighted by the greatest basketball players in the world.
Stern has integrated the game through every aspect of life in every single country on the planet. Sure, he’s had some help from names such as Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, but Stern was the one who set up the easel for the great basketball talent to paint a talent.
He has been called the best commissioner of any sport, repeatedly for the last two decades–very deserving.
Not only has he grew the game around the world, put his hand down on the NBA riff-raft and usher in star talent year after year, but he has also reshaped the league whenever a change of scenery or environment was needed. Remember the late 1990′s and early 2000′s when everyone wanted to be a thug with long dangling chains and baggy, unprofessional clothing?
Stern made the players clean it up and present themselves respectfully at press conferences.
I know we have more than a year of Stern at the helm left, although, it is going to seem like a full year went by when the time comes for him to hang up his suite.
I appreciate what Stern has done for the league and I know Silver or anyone else who tries to wear his shoes, are not going to fit them by any means. Stern is one of a kind who will have his imprint on the league noticed for the entirety of the NBA.
Hopefully, he gives some crazy NBA player–maybe JaVale McGee–one of the largest fines Stern has ever handed out just to leave his battle ground on a high note.