After spending nearly 30 years helping to expand the professional basketball world into a global brand, David Stern will be retiring from the sport he turned into a $5 billion a year industry. Confident that the NBA is in good shape and certain his predecessor can make it even better, Stern announced that he will be ending his career, putting a final punctuation to one of the most successful and impactful careers in sports history. Stern will take his final bow as commissioner February 1, 2014, 30 years to the day after taking charge of the league, and will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I have decided that things are in great shape and there’s an organization in place that will ultimately be led by Adam that is totally prepared to take it to the next level,” Stern said Thursday during a press conference following the league’s board of governors meeting. There hasn’t been a policy change within the NBA — drug testing, HIV/AIDS awareness, salary cap, even the dress code — that Stern had a hand in. “For all the things you’ve done for the NBA and for sports generally, I think there’s no doubt that you’ll be remembered as the best of all-time as commissioners go and you’ve set the standard,” Silver told Stern sitting to his left on a podium. Stern told owners of his plans during their two days of meeting, and owners will begin negotiations with the 50-year-old Silver in hopes of having a contract completed by their next meeting in April.