Obit Stern BasketballFILE - In this Thursday, June 6, 2013 file photo, David Stern, NBA Commissioner, right, and Adam Silver, Deputy Commissioner, speak before the start of Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat in Miami. David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA's longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. He was 77. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Reaction from the basketball world and beyond to the death of former NBA Commissioner David Stern on Wednesday at age 77:
“For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals — preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.” — Adam Silver, who followed Stern as commissioner.
“Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today. He guided the league through turbulent times and grew the league into an international phenomenon, creating opportunities that few could have imagined before. His vision and leadership provided me with the global stage that allowed me to succeed. David had a deep love for the game of basketball and demanded excellence from those around him — and I admired him for that.” — Michael Jordan.
“David Stern was such a history maker. When I announced in 1991 I had HIV, people thought they could get the virus from shaking my hand. When David allowed me to play in the 1992 All Star Game in Orlando and then play for the Olympic Dream Team, we were able to change the world.” — Magic Johnson.
“There are no words that can really describe the far-reaching impact of Commissioner Stern’s brilliance, vision, fairness and hard work over so many years. When you think of all that he accomplished worldwide on behalf of thousands of players, so many fans, all of the jobs he created for team and arena employees and all of the people that benefitted from the many layers of growth in the sport and industry that David spearheaded and then passed on to others, there is no doubt Commissioner Stern lifted the NBA to new heights and he will be greatly missed by all of us.” — Larry Bird
“He was a man of great vision and energy who is responsible for the operational and business advancements that created the modern sports industry. David taught me how to be a commissioner and, more importantly, how to try to be a good person.” — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“We lost a great visionary. Him and Dr. James Naismith are the two most important people for the game of basketball. Dr. Naismith because he invented the game and David for his vision, his vision to make this game global.” — Lakers forward LeBron James.
“Will never forget the words you spoke this day! ‘With the 7th pick’ changed my life forever. Thank you and your family for your leadership and commitment to growing the game of basketball around the World. Forever grateful. RIP Commissioner Stern!” — Golden State guard Stephen Curry.
"He means so much to the game. He made this game global. He gave to guys like to me, like Luka (Doncic), Toni Kukoc, we can go on and on, Pau Gasol, all these international players, he gave us guys a chance. The game is going to miss him.” — Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“The game lost a leader today.” — Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association.
“Thank you David Stern, the greatest commissioner of any professional sports ever. Thank you for what you’ve done for the game globally. May you Rest In Peace.” — Charlotte forward Nicolas Batum, who is French.
“RIP David. You always said you made me and you were absolutely right. You were a friend, mentor and administrator of the largest donut fund ever. You are missed.” — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, referring to the many times Stern fined Cuban for league infractions.
“David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento. His impact on the league will leave a lasting imprint around the world and his fierce support of the team and this community is the reason why the Kings stayed in Sacramento. David’s enthusiasm for our city and belief in our fans will never be forgotten.” — Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé.
“David was an outstanding leader who contributed enormously to the success of the modern NBA. We met almost fifty years ago. He was a great friend and a terrific ally on important issues. His death is a very painful loss for all of us.” — Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
“David Stern was a brilliant leader whose vision was instrumental in creating the global success the NBA enjoys today. ESPN is deeply grateful for his tremendous partnership through the years.” — ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro.
“David was a driving force in sports for decades and helped the NBA soar to new heights around the world. I called him the dean of commissioners, not only for his longevity and his vision for the NBA, but for his willingness to offer advice when I first started as NFL commissioner.” — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“The WNBA will be forever grateful for his exemplary leadership and vision that led to the founding of our league. His steadfast commitment to women’s sports was ahead of its time and has provided countless opportunities for women and young girls who aspire to play basketball. He will be missed.” — WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.