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David Stern to step down as NBA Commissioner Feb. 1, 2014

Oct 25, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT

David Stern, Adam Silver AP

Last year at the NBA finals David Stern said he only was going to be on the job for a couple more years. He wasn’t kidding.

David Stern, 70, is stepping down as commissioner of the NBA on Feb. 1, 2014, Timberwolves owner and Chairman of Board of Governors Glen Taylor confirmed on Wednesday.

That will be 30 years to the day of David Stern having led the NBA, and taking a sport that not long before he took over had its finals games shown on tape delay after midnight to dizzying new heights of popularity both nationally and internationally (and steering it to two lockouts on along the way). Stern was not perfect, but he knew how to market a sport as well or better than any pro sports commissioner in history.

“I thought one year for each of the 30 teams in the NBA was about all I could say…” Stern joked about why retiring now. “Things are in great shape, and there’s an orgainization in place, that will ultimately be led by Adam (Silver) that is totally prepared to take it to the next level. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving prior to (negotiating the new) Collective Bargaining Agreement… and this seemed to be a great time….

“Life is a journey and it’s been a spectacular journey. And each step along the way there are things that you have to do, things you wish you hadn’t done, but I don’t keep that list. I’m totally pleased.”

Stern said he plans to stay on, basically as a consultant, to work on special projects. That likely will involve working to grow the game overseas, a passion of his.

Current deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA’s lead negotiator during the lockout, was unanimously selected by the owners to take his place and negotiations will take place with him Taylor confirmed (the formal approval will come in April). Silver has worked in the league offices for 20 years.

“I told the owners yesterday in executive session, I told them that it’s been a great run, it will continue for another 15 months, that the league is in,” I think, terrific condition…” Stern said. “I like to think I did an adequate job but one of the things I did best was to provide a successor that would be able to take the kind of things we now look at as huge growth opportunities — international, digital, television rights — and have somebody place.”

Stern promised a “smooth transition.” Sterm will stay on past his retirement date as a consultant to work with teams and on international projects.

“Adam’s title will be ‘commissioner elect’ but for the next 15 months they are still going to have me to kick around, working with Adam to assure that the transition, the passing of the baton so to speak, on Feb. 1, 2014 is complete,” Stern said.

  1. sun602 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Collective excitement in 3 2 1..YES!

    • sabatimus - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Really? He’s lied about so much, why not about this?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Excitement for what? When fellow Stein and puppet Adam Silver is going to pick up where he left off?

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Sorry to break the news to you, but if you like pro basketball, it’s because of David Stern. Players come and go, even the best coaches get fired, owners sell their teams. But Stern has built this league into an entertainment powerhouse. Stern. Revenues are up 3000% under Stern’s 30-year tenure. Yes, that number is correct. And player salaries are up even more than that so you can’t say the players haven’t profited. And if you don’t like Stern, you probably aren’t old enough to remember basketball in the 70s and early 80s. Let the thumbs down begin in 3 2 1…

  2. joshm5683 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Notorious DJS!!!!

    Seriously though, he took the NBA to new heights and everyone does owe him some thanks. Yes, it was the players, but DJS did have a big hand in guiding the league. Hopefully Mr. Silver can keep it going………and doesn’t veto anymore trades for my Lakers for basketball reasons

    • zblott - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      New heights = more money for league/owners (NOT better product)

      • florida727 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        New heights? You mean higher ticket prices that an “average” fan can’t afford without refinancing their mortgage so that the players and owners can live more lavish lifestyles for doing nothing more mind-numbing than stuffing a ball through a hole ten feet off the ground? Those kind of new heights? Got it. Thanks.

    • rajbais - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      He just negotiated crap with TV networks from all countries! No one celebrates this much over agents!!!

      No one will be interested in you if you have nothing to offer!!!

      He had Magic, Bird, MJ, Kobe, Lebron, and Shaq!!! Stern’s lapdogs are giving those players’ credits and are putting Stern’s name on it!!!!!

      His departure is 15 years overdue!!!!

  3. dannymac17 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    And hopefully his final order of business is to block a trade of anyone going to the Lakers.

  4. dls612 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    After he goes who the hell are we(the NBA fans) are gonna boo on draft-day! Oh the joy!

  5. nofunleague - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Maybe he can take that slug from the NHL with him.

  6. bucrightoff - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    His farwell gift will obviously be rigging a Lakers-Heat final to ensure the highest rating in NBA Finals History. Looking forward to the tell-all book about the frozen enveloppe, MJ’s gambling suspension and Game 6, 2002.

  7. dan46778 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    To bad battmen can not go too

  8. 00maltliquor - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    HALLLLLLL-ELUJA, halle-luja, halleluja, halleluja, HA-AA-LLE-LUJA!!!

  9. cosanostra71 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    any joy should be tempered by the fact that Silver is his hand-picked successor and likely won’t be any better

  10. rj2323 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Great commissioner

    • jprcox - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      great commissioner??? what, are you his brother or something..? I guess you are one of 10 in this country that like this guy.

  11. 00maltliquor - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Stern may go, but “Smithers” is gonna be taking over. Not quite sure how that’s going to work out. He might just be a David Stern clone. I’m sure he’ll still have his hand up his ass since he will be lingering around like a bad fart as a “consultant”. Either way, this change is welcomed and refreshing!

  12. rajbais - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    The most overrated commissioner ever!!!

  13. rajbais - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Darren Rovell had a Twitter poll today on the grade that Stern deserved, I gave him a “D”. The “D” was not for “David”!

  14. jprcox - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:08 PM


  15. 00maltliquor - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    My God, just look at that picture of that sneaky, slimey, snake! Makes my blood boil! He just reaks of arrogance with his trademark condescending quarter-smile.

  16. dallasstars9 - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Hey Bettman, take note. Your departure is LONG overdue as well!

  17. passerby23 - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Hopefully Stern comes clean in his autobiography about rigging the 1985 NBA Draft. He can’t admit it while he’s commissioner, but maybe once he’s out of the spotlight for a few years, he’ll quietly admit it.

  18. cantonbound13 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    LeBron will have to actually earn a ring in 2 years.

  19. deiong - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    i feel stumped. i want to say good ridance, but he is a person.. so.. i hope you enjoy reirement, hope all the cheating comes to an end guess he cant escape the miami scandal. hopefully the next has som integrety

  20. mogogo1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Fabulous example of how it’s not just players who hang around too long. A decade ago he was universally seen as the best commissioner in sports. But he waited too long and goes out looking like just another empty suit mouthpiece for the owners, standing by uselessly as guys like the Maloof brothers ripoff fans, while lobbying for the NBA’s biggest stars to be banned from the Olympics. There was a time when he helped drive the league. But he leaves just another passenger.

  21. choppa2lis - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    stern is the biggest conartist in sports. a pure slimeball sleezebag , rigged more games and draft lotteries than anyone can imagine. im sure it goes much deeper than 1985 draft and other obvious rigged series like the 2002 lakers/kings. the 2000 blazers/lakers, the list can go on and on. good riddence to this scumbag

    • omniusprime - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:45 AM

      What a crybaby, the Lakers were the superior team to the blazers and kings. Neither team could win their series with leads against the mighty champion Lakers. Ha Ha!

  22. omniusprime - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Good Riddance! Why couldn’t Stern leave sooner is my only question. Stern has been a pathetic excuse for NBA commissioner, let’s hope the next clown is much improved but most likely he’ll be a Stern clone. The NBA shouldn’t waste money hiring this clown as a consultant after he retires, he should just go away and leave NBA basketball alone.

  23. mustbechris - Oct 26, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    I wish Lockout King Gary Bettman would retire too.

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