David Stern, NBA’s commissioner for 30 years, dies at 77

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David Stern

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 15, 2013 file photo, NBA Commissioner David Stern takes a question from a reporter during a news conference following an NBA Board of Governors meeting in Dallas. The NBA says former Commissioner David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 and underwent emergency surgery. The league says in a statement its thoughts and prayers are with the 77-year-old Stern’s family. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died on New Year’s Day. He was 77.

The league says Stern died Wednesday with his family by his side. He suffered a brain hemorrhage Dec. 12 and underwent emergency surgery.

Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before he became its fourth commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984. By the time he left his position in 2014, a league that had struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion a year industry and made NBA basketball perhaps the world’s most popular sport after soccer.

Stern had a hand in nearly every initiative to do that, including drug testing, the salary cap and implementation of a dress code.

The trained lawyer helped the league become televised in more than 200 countries and territories, and in more than 40 languages.

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