“NBA Mourns–Players Should Remember”
The NBA lost a leader, a trend setter, a visionary on New Years Day, when former Commissioner David Stern passed away at (77)…following complications two weeks ago from surgery for a blood clot on the brain.
He helped make the NBA what it is.
His impact was in the financial world, the global world, and the national world.
Players in the NBA are making 20-to-35M a year, by virtue of what David Stern created.
The accomplishments came fast and furious in the NBA, after he inherited a league in trouble, once the ABA and NBA merger took place.
Stearn’s league would become the league of the Jordan-Bird-Magic Johnson era.
It was an NBA where mega money TV contracts became commonplace, because of how Stearn did his TV deals.
It was Stearn who created a plan to help the have-nots, the smaller franchises, with a unique revenue-sharing plan, approved by the guys on the other street corner, the Union.
The commissioner, as revenues poured in, helped negotiate a salary cap for players that guaranteed them huge pay raises as the revenue pie grew, and when they became free agents.
He explored taking the game international, helping lay the groundwork for expansion into Asia, the Chinese-Japanese market. Not just to showcase players, but to create huge marketing and revenue deals
He grew the NBA draft, not just the lottery, to build competitive balance, but the admittance of a great flow of players from Europe, including the Soviet block countries.
At home, he founded the NBA-TV network, the first league run network that in turn led to things like the NFL Network and MLB Network.
Leaving no stone unturned, he was the driving force of the WNBA, and then pioneered a developmental league, now currently the NBA-G League.
He created drug testing, the first of its kind in any sports league, heading off disasters that struck the NFL and MLB, when steroids and HGH and amphetamines ran out of control.
He dealt strongly with bad citizen players, and even owners, expelling Ted Stephen of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then watched his league rid itself of Donald Sterling.
He guided the league thru the aftermath of the ABA merger, and then led the expansion to 7-new NBA cities.
In an era of big money, big stars, big egos, and Dream Teams, today’s modern day player has no knowledge, nor idea of those who came before him.
Nobody remembers bus rides, small arenas, the Cincinnati Royals, the Philips 66s or the old Boston and Madison Square Gardens.
They were the roots of a league that now features 35M a year contracts, opt out clauses, free agency, 1-and-done players in the draft.
A phrase NBA players should never ignore….’remember where you came from’.
They should also remember ‘who got them the wealth they now enjoy’.
David Stern, legendary commissioner of the NBA. RIP..