Stern helped the NBA grow to a $5 billion industry but he also oversaw the relocation of six teams, including the Sonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
David Stern spent nearly 30 years growing the NBA, turning a league that couldn’t even get its championship series on live prime-time TV into a projected $5 billion-a-year industry.
Confident the NBA is in good shape and certain he has found someone who can make it even better, Stern is ready to end one of the most impactful careers in sports history.
Stern will retire as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years to the day after taking charge of the league, and be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I decided that things are in great shape and … (Silver) is totally prepared to take it to the next level,” Stern said Thursday.
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Stern, who turned 70 last month, has been the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner, building the brand, presiding over expansion and overseeing the establishment of the WNBA.
Seven NBA franchises have been added along the way and the league has seen a 30-fold increase in revenues. Stern also oversaw the relocation of six teams, including the Sonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
“Life is a journey, and it’s been a spectacular journey,” Stern said. “Each step along the way there are things that you have to do, things that you maybe wish you hadn’t done. But I don’t keep that list, and so I’m totally pleased and I’m particularly pleased with the transition of which we’re now embarking.”
Name an important policy in the NBA — drug testing, salary cap, even a dress code — and Stern had a hand in it. A lawyer by trade, he was a fearless negotiator. The league has reported huge increases in ticket and merchandise sales, and TV ratings are at an all-time high.
• The NBA board of governors has approved Michael Heisley‘s reported $350 million sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to a group headed up by a California technology entrepreneur. A group of minority partners includes Memphis businessmen, singer Justin Timberlake, former NBA player Penny Hardaway and four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning‘s wife, Ashley.
• Mavericks guard Delonte West was suspended Thursday for the second time in as many weeks for conduct detrimental to the team. A series of tweets by West raise questions about whether he will return to the team. “Just dont kick me … on the way out the door,” West tweeted. “I didn’t do anything to deserve that.” The last of several tweets in just a few minutes said, “I’m just sittin here across from the arena wit tear in my eyes.” West has bipolar disorder and addressed that topic in another tweet, saying “no I’m not off my meds.”
West told ESPNDallas.com that was he was being blamed for an argument between teammates in the locker room.
• The Golden State Warriors have exercised their third-year option on shooting guard Klay Thompson, which will keep the former Washington State star with the team through the 2013-14 season. The 22-year-old played in all 66 games last season, averaging 12.5 points.