David Stern will be retiring as NBA Commissioner in 2014. David Stern has made controversial decisions over the years, but he has largely kept the NBA on stable footing since 1984 when he first took over as Commissioner. Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James probably deserve the most credit for the popularity of the on the floor. The role that Stern played dealt with making sure that people like Jordan and Bryant had the biggest possible stage from which to play from. I have very limited experience traveling outside of the country, but the biggest American sport that people knew about in Ireland was basketball.
I don’t really consider soccer to be an American sport.
The fact that people knew a lot about the game of basketball may have quite a bit to do with David Stern. David Stern was serious about making sure the NBA was relevant in the world of globalization. There is no doubt that people all over the world could name a large number of the players on the Dream Team roster.
Stern angered a lot of people out there with the dress code that he implemented, many people felt that the dress code was targeting a lot of young black players who simply wanted to go to the game and dress as they saw fit. The dress code was all about marketing the NBA and trying to make sure that the league is marketed well and that people can have a good after basketball career, young professionals need to know how to dress properly.
People can have a lot of success discussing the mistakes that Stern has made, but there are a lot of people who should spend more time embracing the positive changes that Stern has made for the league.
Stern should be saluted for the NBA Draft Lottery overall, the NBA Draft Lottery is what may have started the long string of success for the San Antonio Spurs. If the Spurs had not been able to draft Tim Duncan, would the Spurs be a consistent contender for the NBA Title? No. Would Gregg Popovich be considered a Hall of Fame head coach? No. Popovich would be the first person to admit that as well.
People can question the rule that requires players to go to college for at least one year, say what you want about the rule, but I think it made Tyreke Evans and Kyrie Irving better players overall. You don’t want a kid leaving school after high school and possibly going undrafted.
I wonder if Stern’s biggest regret is not having that marquee player who could break into the Chinese market for over a decade. Yao Ming was a great guy and he made the NBA a lot of money, but just imagine would could have been if he had been able to stay on the floor and remain relatively healthy? The possibilities could have been endless.