The news of the death of David Stern, the NBA commissioner who ushered the sport into a global entertainment powerhouse led to a swift outpouring of condolences and remembrances from Hall of Famers such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen and Bill Russell.
Legends and luminaries remembered Stern as a visionary as well as a friend.
I can not put into words what the friendship of David Stern has meant to me but many others. He changed so many lives. David was a great innovator and made the game we love what it is today. This is a horrible loss. Our hearts are with Dianne & their family. RIP my friend. @NBA pic.twitter.com/mbnneqm18s— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) January 1, 2020
Stern was commissioner from 1984 to 2014. The NBA added seven franchises to expand to 30 teams during his reign. He negotiated big-money television deals, handled crises and work stoppages, and put a focus on international exposure and marketing.
Very sad day for basketball. We saw David Stern a lot in the 90s and I found him to be kind, thoughtful and almost always the smartest person in the room. He was an innovator who helped grow our sport into a global game and his impact will never be forgotten. RIP, Commissioner. pic.twitter.com/FzlJwnJmrK— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 1, 2020
Sad news. We lost a legend! RIP David Stern— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) January 1, 2020
Other sports commissioners and union leaders added condolences.