Mr. David J. Stern the NBA Commissioner will celebrate his 25th Anniversary on the job February 1, 2009. He was announced as the 4th NBA Commisioner on February 1, 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien.
The NBA schedules games as an appetizer to the Super Bowl on America's most beloved day of sport known as Super Bowl Sunday. Commissioner Stern has a "double-dunk" to celebrate his 25th Anniversary and of course the Super Bowl Game.
Mr. Stern has reigned over the NBA for 25-years and has turned a drug-ladened league of 23 teams into a global phenomenon of 30 teams where games are played and seen all over the world.
His first association with the NBA in 1966 was as an outside counsel. In 1978 Stern became the NBA's General Counsel by 1980 he was Executive Vice President of the NBA. During this time two landmark decisions were reached with the NBA Players' Association: drug testing and team salary cap. The drug testing dealt with the perception that most basketball players used drugs, that the NBA admitted it had a problem, and it was cleaning it up. The salary cap created a revenue-sharing system where owner and player were effectively partners. Both of these agreements solidified Stern's standing inside NBA circles.
He has been able to take an 80% black player league and make it a model league for the other 3 major sports to follow. The league has had to deal with the retirement of superstar legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
The league has also had to encounter the hip-hop generation influx of players over the past 15-18 years most notably Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Stephon Marbury, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Chris Webber, and the most famous hip-hop baller of all-time Allen Iverson. He's done a great job of blending the hip-hop culture of the players and maintain a level of excellence of play on the court.
The baskeball and hip-hop culture fusion born in 1984 that is known now as The 'Dunkadelic-Era" In America has existed during the entire time that Stern has been NBA Commissioner and for that he's been recognized as one of the 25 "Most Influential" to The "Dunkadelic-Era".
There is no question that the NBA is his league, and he and it are as strong as ever.
The NBA Finals back in 1980 when Magic Johnson was the sensational rookie who led the L.A. Lakers to the NBA Championship was seen on tape-delay because there wasn't a demand to see NBA games or any of its stars. Stern negotiated television contracts that would create billions of dollars of revenue for the league, its owners, and players to share.
The past NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers has put the legue back in the spotlight since the 3rd and final retirement of Michael Jordan.
Stern realizes that the NBA is a league about its stars and the Kobe vs. LeBron, D-Wade vs. LeBron, Shaq vs. Yao, or Celtics vs. Lakers makes it appealing to those who aren't just basketball fans, but fans of competition on the highest level.
Happy 25th Anniversary to Mr. David Stern you're a "Class Act".