Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

David Stern set to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Stern Basketball

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, NBA Commissioner David Stern smiles during a news conference after an NBA board of governors meeting in New York. Stern is amazed when he looks at the NBA and compares it to the league that was struggling to stay afloat when he started. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

By
August 06, 2014 |

NEW YORK — David Stern remembers the days when an NBA staff that numbered about two dozen was just trying to keep some teams in existence long enough to get them on national TV.

Now the former commissioner looks at a league whose 1980 championship series was not broadcast live but now has games televised around the world, whose players average more than $5 million a year in salary as the highest-paid team athletes in sports, and sometimes can’t believe he and his colleagues pulled it off.

“You can’t even do justice to everything that everybody has done,” Stern said in a phone interview. “All you can do is focus on small chunks of it, but it’s great fun to contemplate how the NBA family has pulled together to be at a place where our players are now at the top of the celebrity period.

“Pretty, pretty amazing and great.”

It helped to have marketable stars like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

But now comes an honor for the person most responsible for it.

Stern will be enshrined Friday in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, part of a 2014 class that includes former players Alonzo Mourning and Mitch Richmond, along with NCAA championship-winning coaches Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams.

Stern ended his run as commissioner after exactly 30 years on Feb. 1 — he won’t say retired, because he’s still working — and once thought he would wait five years for induction, same as players. Officials from the NBA and Hall of Fame persuaded him otherwise, and nobody is arguing that he belongs immediately.

“It would be hard to overstate the impact I think David has had on the game of basketball. Admitting that I’m prejudiced toward basketball, David Stern could go down in our era as the greatest commissioner of all-time in all sports,” said former NBA coach and ESPN analyst P.J. Carlesimo.

For Stern, it will be the first official basketball function he’s attended since leaving the commissioner’s office in the hands of Adam Silver. He’s remained busy advising some communications companies and technology startups, giving speeches and traveling on behalf of the league, and is anxious to catch up with the growing list of supporters he has learned will be in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“It’s very nice and very enjoyable,” Stern said, “and the Hall of Fame is always a kind of reunion in any event. And so this will be just one more, which is great.”

Inducted in the contributor category, Stern is mostly being recognized for his accomplishments as commissioner. But things like free agency and the merger with the ABA came much earlier, when he was working with the league as a lawyer, before he joined the NBA as its general counsel in 1978. Some of those advances are the ones that occasionally come to mind when he’s talking with old co-workers.

“It was a great run,” he said. “We had a lot of fun together and the success was as a result of the efforts of an extraordinary number of people.”

Stern talks often with Silver and is impressed with the way his successor has handled a number of challenges in his first six months, most notably the Donald Sterling controversy. Yet it would be hard for Silver — or anyone else — to ever match the career of Stern, who oversaw the addition of seven teams, the creation of the WNBA and NBA Development League, and the growth of revenues to about $5 billion annually.

“You just look at where the game is today, and his fingerprints are all over that. My dad tells me stories all the time of how the league used to be — it was great — but nothing compared to what it is now,” said Golden State All-Star Stephen Curry, whose father, Dell, started his 16-year career in 1986.

“When it comes to how much presence we have across the globe, playing conditions, how the league has expanded, he’s had every part in leading the charge.”

Stern calls his induction a group award, citing the efforts of owners, players, referees and league employees, and jokes that “I haven’t bought the napkin yet” on which he would write his acceptance speech. But the honor is Stern’s, and he’s excited to accept it.

“To me, it’s a very important award, a recognition by your peers in a sport where you spent your adult life working,” he said, adding it’s “at the top of the chart in terms of the way it makes you feel and the recognition of it.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Cellphone theft in Fairfield prompts police search

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Police arrest Vacaville man after alleged attack on business owner

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    .

    Business

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8