Ex-NBA Commissioner David Stern Dies After Brain Hemorrhage

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NEW YORK, NY — David Stern, who served as commissioner of the NBA for three decades and stepped down in 2014, has died weeks after suffering a sudden brain hemorrhage in New York City. He was 77. The NBA confirmed his death in a statement to media outlets New Year’s Day, saying his wife, Dianne, and their family surrounded Stern at his bedside.

Stern had undergone emergency surgery last month after suffering the hemorrhage. He was at the Brasserie 8 1/2 restaurant near Central Park in Manhattan when he collapsed. He was immediately rushed to a hospital.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, called Stern a mentor and dear friend.

“We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us,” Silver said in a statement. “Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals — preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.”

Stern took over the NBA in 1984 with the league facing a crossroads, Silver said. During his tenure, the NBA became a global brand, with Stern launching media and promotional partnerships and bringing the sport into the digital age, watched by billions across the world.

“Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand — making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation,” Silver said.

Tributes poured in from players, teams, media personalities and more Wednesday. Richard Jefferson, who was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 2001 and played for several teams throughout his career, called Stern one of the most important people in NBA history.

“The two most important people in the history of the game of basketball are Dr James Naismith and DAVID STERN,” Jefferson tweeted. “One man created the game and the other made it what it is today. RIP David, so many owe you so much!”

Former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade tweeted that shaking Stern’s hand when he was drafted in 2003 was a “dream come true.”

The Golden State Warriors called Stern an “icon.”

“We lost an icon of our sport today with the passing of Commissioner Emeritus David Stern,” the team tweeted. “David was a visionary and innovator in every sense of the language, and the success of our league today is a reflection of his leadership.”

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