What did David Stern do for the NBA?

What is the NBA?

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the premier professional basketball league in the world. It is composed of 30 teams, 29 of which are based in the United States and one in Canada. The NBA is a global sports and media business founded in 1946 and is considered one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the most popular basketball league in the world.

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David Stern’s Impact on the NBA

David Stern, who served as the Commissioner of the NBA from 1984-2014, was one of the most influential figures in the history of the league. During his tenure, he was credited with transforming the NBA into a global brand, revolutionizing television and marketing, and helping to make the game popular on an international level. He was also instrumental in helping the league to become an economic powerhouse.

The Financial Aspect

During Stern’s time as Commissioner, the NBA’s total revenues grew from $165 million in 1984 to $5.5 billion in 2013. Under his watch, the league secured new television contracts, sponsorships and merchandise deals which greatly increased the NBA’s financial stability.

Stern also played a key role in the formation of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1996. This was a crucial move in helping the league to create a more diverse fan base and expand its reach.

The Rise of the NBA as a Global Brand

Stern’s most significant contribution to the NBA was his ability to take the league global. He was instrumental in making the NBA an international brand, striking television deals with broadcasters in over 200 countries and launching the NBA China in 2008.

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Under Stern’s leadership, the NBA also established offices in 11 countries outside the United States. This move allowed the league to better connect with international audiences and helped to increase the popularity of the game globally.

The Expansion of the NBA

Stern was also responsible for the expansion of the NBA. During his tenure, he oversaw the addition of 29 new franchises, including the Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors, and the Memphis Grizzlies. This helped to increase the league’s revenue and reach new markets.

The Introduction of the Salary Cap

In 1984, Stern implemented a salary cap for the NBA which limited the amount of money a team could spend on players. This was a major shift in the league’s economics and helped to create a more level playing field. The salary cap also helped to ensure that teams did not overspend and put themselves at a financial disadvantage.

The Implementation of the Dress Code

In 2005, Stern implemented a dress code for players in the league. This move was controversial at the time, but it was ultimately successful in creating a more professional atmosphere and helping to improve the NBA’s public image.

The Creation of the NBA Development League

In 2001, Stern founded the NBA Development League (D-League), which was a minor league for the NBA. This was an important move in helping to develop young talent and provide an opportunity for players to hone their skills before joining the NBA.


David Stern had a profound impact on the NBA during his 30-year tenure as Commissioner. He helped to increase the league’s financial stability, expand its global reach, and create a more level playing field. His legacy as one of the most influential figures in the history of the NBA will live on for years to come.