Longtime NBA Commissioner David Stern has announced that he will be stepping down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, according to Yahoo! Sports. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver has been named replacement by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
Stern has been with the NBA since 1978, and has been commissioner of the NBA since 1984. His tenure has been an unpopular one, as there have been several controversies such as when he asked Jim Rome if he had stopped beating his wife and the vetoing of the Chris Paul-Los Angles Lakers mega trade. His era of leadership has also been defined by relocation of NBA teams, and the expansion of the NBA into new markets. During his tenure, six teams were relocated and seven new franchises were created, the most recent one being the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004.
Moving forward, I think this a good move for the NBA as a whole. Stern is arguably the most unpopular commissioner in all of sports, and that is saying something considering how much flak NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken over the last several months due to the Bounty Gate scandal and the NFL lockout. Stern has let two lockouts happen, and has made himself an enigma amongst the NBA fan base. Fans and columnists alike have criticized him heavily over the last few years, and I don’t think anyone will be too heartbroken over Stern’s retirement. The NBA, in a lot of ways, needs to be refreshed in the eyes of the fans and this is a good way to start doing that. He has become so unpopular that he was loudly booed at the past NBA Draft, and it’s clear that whatever popularity he had has now vanished.
Silver, his successor, has a long history of involvement in professional sports. He has been with the league for over 14 years and is currently overseas with NBA Entertainment. He was an executive producer for the IMAX movie “Michael Jordan to the Max” as well as several documentaries that aired on TNT. A 1984 graduate of Duke University who also has a law degree from the University of Chicago, Silver is most recognizable for being the guy who picks the ping-pong balls at the NBA lottery. Only time will tell if he is different from David Stern, but at the very least, he is a fresh face. And while he is not the major problem, he is a part of it. Whether it is fair or not, this the right time for David Stern to go before his legacy is fully tarnished.