David Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Association, will retire on Saturday, February 1. Stern has been the commissioner for exactly 30 years, and has treated the NBA as a business rather than a game.
When Stern started in 1984, the league only had 23 franchises with seven of them wavering on the financial brink. Of those seven, the Utah Jazz was one of them. The total revenue of these franchises produced $128 million.
“He mastered the art of making the owners think they worked for him,” said Dave Checketts. He leaves the league after 30 years, there are 30 franchises, and they will have total revenue of $5.5 billion this year.
“Most commissioners are a referee. They just kind of keep the owners from each other and from the players,” says Checketts. “But David Stern was a true chief executive.”