Former NBA Commissioner David Stern Dead at 77

Stern was hospitalized in mid-December with a brain hemorrhage.

David Stern attends Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2019 Gala.

Image via Getty/Noam Galai

David Stern attends Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2019 Gala.

Former NBA commissioner David Stern died Wednesday, less than a month after he underwent emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage. He was 77 years old.

The league confirmed the news in a statement.

"For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action," current NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "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.

"Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David's vision, generosity and inspiration. Our deepest condolences go out to David's wife, Dianne, their sons, Andrew and Eric, and their extended family, and we share our grief with everyone whose life we touched by him,"

According to the NBA, Stern was surrounded by family at the time of his death.

Full statement from the league office on the passing of David Stern ...

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 1, 2020

Stern was hospitalized on Dec. 12 after he collapsed at the Brasserie 8.5 Restaurant in Manhattan.

The New York native began working in the NBA in the mid-1960s, serving as the league's general counsel and its executive vice president before becoming the commissioner in 1984. Stern remained commissioner until he retired in 2014; he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that same year.

Stern is considered one of the most influential figures not only in basketball, but the entire sports world. During his 30-year tenure, he oversaw drastic changes to the NBA—such as the formation of the WNBA, as well as the addition of seven new teams—and is largely credited for turning the league into the modern global organization it is today.

Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant have released the following statement on Stern's death.

NBA legend and Hornets owner Michael Jordan’s statement to @TheAthletic @Stadium on death of iconic NBA commissioner David Stern:

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 1, 2020

The game changed in so many ways under David Stern’s leadership and vision. He demanded the best of everyone because he gave it himself. #Respect Thank you Commissioner. RIP 🙏🏾

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 1, 2020

Read some of the other tributes to Stern below.

Steve Kerr on the legacy of Commissioner Emeritus David Stern.

— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 1, 2020

RIP David Stern🙏🏾! Shaking your hand on June, 26, 2003 was a dream come true ❤️

— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 1, 2020
Prayers up for David Stern and his family!!

David Stern, the NBA commissioner who oversaw the sport's biggest stage for three decades, has died.

He was 77.

— ESPN (@espn) January 1, 2020

It’s always said that without Larry and Magic and Michael, the current business of the NBA wouldn’t be what it was. This man meant just as much if not more. He brought the NBA to the world so that those men could be adored. RIP David Stern.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 1, 2020

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

— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) January 1, 2020

Prayers up for David Stern and his family!

Rest In Peace 🙏

— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) January 1, 2020

So sad! RIP! The NBA wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for that man! 🙏🏽 #DavidStern

— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) January 1, 2020

There is no way to encapsulate David Stern's impact on sports -- and issues beyond sports -- into a tweet. Rest in peace to the once and forever commissioner.

— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 1, 2020

Rest in peace, David Stern. Stern helped save the NBA. The league and the sports world as a whole wouldn't be what it is today without him—his impact is immeasurable. History will remember him as one of the greats.

— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 1, 2020

Gutted to hear the news about David Stern. One of the most important people in the history of American sports. And one of the most brilliant and interesting people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.

— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) January 1, 2020

Very sad day for basketball. We saw David Stern a lot in the 90s and I found him to be kind, thoughtful and almost always the smartest person in the room. He was an innovator who helped grow our sport into a global game and his impact will never be forgotten. RIP, Commissioner.

— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 1, 2020
Damn. RIP Commissioner. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Latest in Sports