Stern died on Wednesday at the age of 77
After suffering a brain hemorrhage in December, former NBA commissioner David Stern died on Wednesday at the age of 77. The game of basketball as a whole, and the tributes from coaches, players and media showed just how much he meant to the sport.
As such, the league is planning to honor Stern with commemorative black bands on all jerseys for the remainder of the season. Referees will also have black bands on their uniforms as well. Ironically, as Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch points out, the black bands to honor Stern will be placed next to the team’s jersey advertisements — an implementation Stern opposed during his tenure as commissioner.
A giant in the game, Stern oversaw the league for 30 years, with his time in charge spanning four decades from 1984-2014. From the Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson rivalry, through Michael Jordan’s reign with the Bulls and into the new millennium where new legends such as LeBron James emerged, Stern was there for it all, and helped shape the league into what it is today.
As current commissioner Adam Silver, who took over for Stern following his retirement in 2014, put it in his statement on Wednesday:
“David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as a Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around 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.”
It won’t be possible to replace Stern, but honoring him in this way helps keep his memory alive, and will be a reminder of his impact each and every night.