The NBA in a Post David Stern Era

One person who transformed the NBA from being a struggling league into a billion-dollar business was David Stern. He was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1984 to 2014. Now the league has fans from all over the world in more than two hundred countries.

Incredible athletes with almost superhuman basketball skills graced the NBA, but the most dominant figure in the league is no doubt, Mr. Stern. When many teams have struggled and lose money because of a decreasing fan base, it’s Mr. Stern who stabilized the league after the lawyer took the post as commissioner in 1984. During his time, the league attracted thousands of fans again from within and outside the country. With the broader television coverage, even the sports betting industry has seen its rise, with more and more people picking their favorite teams and placing bets on them every game day using handicapping websites like Big Al.

The David Stern era experienced ups and downs, good moments, and bad moments. However, the commissioner implemented significant changes that you can still see in the new era of the NBA. Here are some of the highlights of Mr. Stern’s stewardship of the league that paved the way for a better National Basketball Association going forward.

Revamped Business Operations And Extensive TV Coverage

The NBA experienced fading popularity and public prominence before the arrival of David Stern. The league had twenty-three franchise teams, but television was an issue during the early 1980s that even the final game of the season didn’t get covered live by huge media companies in the US. The league’s collectible trading cards didn’t make it to the market for a season since no companies got interested in creating and producing them.

With all the issues the league faced during those dark times, the arrival of Mr. Stern saw a revamp of the NBA’s business operations. One of the new programs he implemented was the draft lottery. It meant that the worst teams in the league would have the first chances to pick the best players available to draft into their club. The changes in the drafting system became a hit to the public, and television coverage came next.

Expansion OF The Number Of Teams And The NBA As A Whole

David Stern encouraged franchise teams that struggled with their fan base to choose a different city as a new home. He kicked incompetent owners out and pushed for the expansion of the number of teams to thirty, which is still valid in the post-David Stern NBA era. Hundred millions of dollars worth contracts got sealed, leading to the establishment of the Women’s National Basketball Association. The WNBA not only expanded the number of franchise teams but the league as a whole.

The women’s league also opened up new marketing opportunities and enabled David Stern and company to use the sport’s diversity, youth, and international appeal. The success of the league became evident when the entry of Yao Ming became a global hit and opened the doors of China to the NBA. Now the league has three offices in China and other parts of the world. The NBA also started with only twenty-four regular employees before Stern took the seat but now has thousands of employees, which began to increase during the commissioner’s tenure. It was also during the glory years of Mr. Stern and the NBA when youngsters like Kobe Bryant shone after the commissioner encouraged the teams to focus on discovering young talents inside and outside the country.

The D-League Created

In 2001, players who didn’t have what it takes to sign an NBA contract yet got the chance to prove themselves with the creation of the D-League. It started with eight teams with about one hundred twenty players. The D-League teams will serve as farm teams for the NBA ball clubs, even in the post-David Stern era, with the Los Angeles Lakers the first one to purchase their squad in the developmental league.

With more teams starting to buy their D-League squads, the league has grown into a 17-team competition today. The developmental league has experienced a makeover in 2017, though, changing its name from D-League to G-League due to its primary sponsor Gatorade. It was a branding overhaul, but it’s still the same developmental league that David Stern built.

The David Stern-Introduced Technological Advancements

 The reign of Mr. Stern as league commissioner also introduced new technologies as part of his tactics to boost the presence and marketability of the NBA. The new technologies include instant replay using high-tech cameras and the online streaming of the games, which brought the popularity of the league closer to people. Even after retiring in 2014, these technologies are still present in the National Basketball Association and have already become a necessity to make the competition better.

Final Thoughts

The thirty years of David Stern’s career as a league commissioner made game-changing revolutions that everyone still observed in the NBA era after him and even until today. It wasn’t all glory for Mr. Stern, but one thing is for sure, he’s the most excellent former commissioner the league has ever seen.

David Stern passed away this year at the age of seventy-seven, but his legacy will always remain at the hearts of the true-bloodied NBA fans.



John Bman
John Bman
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

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