As the NBA began to earn billions of dollars with David stern

January 1, died on David stern, former Commissioner of the National basketball Association (NBA). He led the NBA for 30 years in a row – from 1984 to 2014.

His marketing talent and business sense helped save the Association almost from oblivion, and players to do the same with international stars such as football players, and millionaires.

Prior to appointment, Commissioner stern seemed quite real that the NBA will disappear. The basketball Association looked very pale against the background of leagues of American football and baseball. And when stern retired in 2014, the annual revenues of the NBA is $5.5 billion, its revenues from TV broadcasting increased over the 30 years, 40 times, exceeding $1 billion From the NBA had offices in 15 cities outside the United States. Its games broadcast in more than 200 countries in 40 languages. Compare for yourself: how much do you know about American football or baseball, but much about American basketball?

Increased the attractiveness of the business to investors. Soon after the arrival of the stern team, the Chicago Bulls sold for $16 million And after 30 years of work, Los Angeles Clippers changed hands for $2 billion in Increased wages. The famous basketball player Charles Barkley recalled that in 1984 the average salary of players was $250 000. Now – almost $9 million.

stern has gone down in history as the head of the sports League of the USA, who has worked at the post the longest. For a year he broke the record head of the National football League Pete Rozelle (1960-1989).

From the grocery store to the basketball

David Joel stern born September 22 1942 in Manhattan (NY, USA). His father ran the family grocery store Stern”s Deli, where all three of his children worked from childhood. Stern chose the profession, far from trading and from sports. First got a degree in history at the prestigious University Reuterscom (New Jersey). Then a law degree at Columbia University. In 1966 he began working at the law firm Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn.

David’s Parents divorced when he was little. Like his father, he became a fan of the basketball team New York Knicks and often went to matches with my dad.

stern himself played a while and played well. He was not a basketball – about 176 cm (although, as he wrote the sports website ESPN, it still was higher than the heads of other national sports leagues of the USA). “I played for the team of my law firm in new York basketball League lawyers. And it cost me the greater part of the cartilage in his right knee,” joked stern in an interview with The New York Times (NYT).

Basketball player to be more profitable than football player

In season 2019/20 the biggest reward of NBA players – $40.2 million – must get Steph Curry, defender of the Golden State Warriors (reward is calculated from the forecast revenue from basketball activities, and can be adjusted at the end of the season), he writes a blog at But even, for example, the 51st number in the ranking of NBA Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers (Indianapolis) should receive $20 million That is, he earns more than such football stars as English striker Manchester City and the Argentina national team, Sergio or the goalkeeper and captain of the German Bayern München and the German national team Manuel Neuer. Name Bragdon little to say to the ordinary person, and he’s not the only one in the NBA: the NBA according to the rules, based on its forecasted income of at least $20 million this season to 51 player.

His job as a lawyer was also associated with sports. Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn represented the interests of the NBA. Stern starred in a few high-profile cases, including the antitrust lawsuit in 1970: the President of the players Union NBA – basketballEast Oscar Robertson prevented the NBA merger with the rival American basketball Association (ABA). In the end, the merger had to be postponed for six years – the court case dragged on until 1976, It had other important consequences. For example, before the players actually were serfs of the club: they had no right to negotiate the transition to another team, at the same time to fire them could at any moment.

As stern increased the competition

In 1978, stern was recruited by the NBA, where he became General counsel. Then was created the position of Vice-President. In addition to resolving legal issues, he was responsible for marketing, PR, negotiations with broadcasters, and more.

the NBA Star in those years was drawing to a close. In the season 1980/81 out of 23 teams, 16 were unprofitable. The finals of the games often was not live and in the recording, and in unpopular time at 23.30. In 1980, a scandal erupted with drugs. In the article The Los Angeles Times claimed that 40 to 75% of the players use cocaine. About the NBA the press then wrote about how crowded black players and drug Association, stern recalled in a conversation with ESPN. As Vice-President, he entered into negotiations with other sports associations on the introduction of anti-drug tests before the games. The NBA became the first sports League in North America that have implemented this innovation.

In 1984, stern headed the NBA. Other candidates were not even considered. He was the second person in the NBA in a few years, and his appointment seemed to take for granted. One of his first steps was to help the small clubs. Was introduced the maximum size of the Fund to pay players $3.8 million per team. This is to some extent equalized the rich and the poor clubs (the rich now could not buy up all the stars, which you need to pay a lot) has led to a new round of rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, which seemed extinguished in 1969 Excellentisit salary threshold, but then have to pay the NBA the so-called “luxury tax”.

After a certain limit is already “hard ceiling”, which is impossible to break under any pretext. He is tied to the income from basketball activities (BRI, basketball related income), and it is different every year. This year – $109,14 million, according to

by the Way, before stern, still not taking the post of Commissioner, helped the players and club owners to find a compromise regarding the rewards: the players won the right on 53% of revenues.

People, not the team

the Current Commissioner of the NBA Adam silver says stern was among the founders of modern sports marketing “one of those who took modern marketing techniques and applied them in a sports League.”

He founded the NBA division of licensing and relations with sponsors. Along with its Director made a “dream roster” for NBA partners (McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, etc.). and went on a voyage around the country to persuade them to cooperate.

when he was still Vice-President of stern helped start a division of NBA Entertainment, which made the content associated with basketball. And becoming the Commissioner, expanded the staff, agreed with the producers of video games and in the end, the President has a hit series of sports simulation NBA Jam (first published in 1993).

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He decided to promote star players, not whole teams. If in the 1960s competition Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers was a battle of the clubs, when the Stubble she became a confrontation between magic Johnson and Larry bird. Another star stern was Michael Jordan, which in 1994 came to Chicago Bulls.

firstth year as Commissioner, stern was sold to the Argentine TV channel rights to broadcast NBA games for a ridiculous $2,000 a year. Every Sunday in a country where children dreamed of football, showed that the ball can be carried on hands. And it bore fruit. When the Argentinian Emanuel Ginobili was a child, he looked at Michael Jordan and think that he is from another planet. Since then, Ginobili in the club of the San Antonio Spurs four times won the NBA championship, although in the past the League was not one of his compatriots.

Women, Greek Canadians

With David Stern in the NBA there were seven new teams, all of them became 30. A woman’s League of the NBA in 1997, and a minor League for the NBA farm teams G League in 2001 As stern said, it is necessary to work with young talents to have as many boys and girls who “will lead the ball with his hands instead of kicking it.”
NBA was the all-American League. And now the title of most valuable player is Giannis antetokounmpo, a Greek born to Nigerian immigrants, and NBA champion – canadian team Toronto Raptors with players from three continents.

In 1989, stern four hours waited in Beijing meeting with representatives of Chinese television CCTV, and then persuaded them to broadcast the games for free. Now watching NBA games in China, 18 million people, and last year, the Chinese Tencent and the NBA announced a five-year contract for $1.5 billion.

And the best moment in the life of stern believed the 1992 Olympics, and for the First time in history, it was attended by basketball players of the NBA – and defeated all rivals. The team called dream team, and in return she was honored as stern told the NYT, so, “if it was a Large theatre, concert hall and The Beatles put together.” “The dream team lit the interest in basketball worldwide, recalled stern last year ESPN. Up to the 92 Olympic games, the NBA games were shown in some 80 countries today – 215”.

About the attitude of the stern to the players testimony to this fact. In 1991, magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive and he stops his career. Disease in those days called an irrational fear and disgust in society. Some didn’t want to play on the same platform with Johnson, opsys infected through scratches. But stern launched a campaign of tolerant attitude to HIV – doctors came to the players and told about the disease. He insisted Johnson was not expunged from the lists of voting for the most outstanding player of the season – and he has earned the award. The photo, which stern has presented this award to Johnson, the NBA Commissioner hung in the most conspicuous place in his office. And he pushed for the inclusion of Johnson in dream team of the Olympics.

stern soft and hard

stern loved to call himself Easy Dave, what can be translated as “easy Dave” and how “easily rivals Dave.” But in others it has earned the reputation of a tyrant. In 2005, stern was concerned about the image of players and introduced a dress code. On the official NBA events they are ordered to adhere to the business style, abandoning the shorts, wide pants, massive chains, bandanas, and other attributes of bandits and fans of hip-hop.

This provoked the protests of the players, fans and even the defenders of the rights of African Americans. The dress code is clearly infringed upon the style he’s grown accustomed to black players. However, it brought a positive effect, noted basketball players think about the appearance, hired stylists, I have developed my own style in clothes. And, as a consequence, articles about their life outside of the basketball court began to appear more frequently in the media.

Dress code – Yes, into the lives of players. But another important issue stern failed to insist on. In season 2006/07 he entered the game balls with synthetic cover, despite the dissatisfaction of players: after the test drives they complained that meh bounces differently off the floor. In December 2006, had to announce that the NBA returns to the old leather balls.

stern was not soft on the guilty. Latrell of Sprewell for the attack on the coach during training was suspended for an entire season-1997/98 – 82 games. In court the lawyer Sprewell managed to reduce this period to 68 games over the NBA legal counsel received a severe dressing down from the stern.

In 2004, during a match fought team Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, first between ourselves and then with the audience. Nine players were suspended a total of a hundred matches without pay, because of what they lost about $11 million, “We could not allow to break the barrier between players and fans. It would deprive us of the most accessible games in the world where you could literally sit on the edge of the platform and almost touch the passing players,” explained stern. But at the same time he visited the family of the player Indiana Pacers Ron Artest, which at his insistence was disqualified by as much as 86 games and helped his sick relatives to obtain necessary medical care.

and he Interfered in the Affairs of the teams. In 2011, he was banned from New Orleans to exchange players. For years stern in all the interviews explained that the decision briefly: “it was demanded by the interests of basketball.” And only two years ago, already retired, came down to details: “I suggested the best option <...> But [who led the at that time New Orleans Dell] DEMPS was a lousy General Manager” (quoted by

What is a lockout

When the Stubble came all four in the history of the NBA lockout, when the owners and players could not agree on the terms of renewal of the contract, the result had to cancel practices and games and to freeze any negotiations on the transfer of players from club to club. The first lockout began in the summer of 1995 and lasted for two months, but ended before the start of the season. Hit a summer camp. The second lockout took only three hours in 1996, the Third lasted from July 1998 to January 1999, which had to postpone the beginning of the season and reduce the number of games in it from 82 to 50. The last was from July to December 2011, for which the season was reduced to 66 games.

the Key issues was the income of the players. For example, during a three-hour lockout of 1996, basketball players have been demanding more revenue from TV broadcasts, the NBA has agreed to increase payments on a compromise amount.

stern in the negotiations during the lockouts represented the club owners who wanted to save the players, but rather played the role of mediator. The reviews were mixed. Stern threatened the players. “I know where to bury the bodies of the NBA, I will personally bury some there,” said he, appearing to the locker room for basketball players during the Star of the weekend. However, it’s revenge to anyone unknown, says ESPN: a man was he explosive but forgiving.

“can’t be too nice guy”

In 1986, just two years after the appointment of Commissioner David stern was interviewing a former basketball player Kind of thorn to the post of Vice President in charge of disciplinary matters. “About you saying you’re a nice guy, thoughtfully stern said. – So, our work can’t be too nice guy”. “It really was nothing soft – recalled Thorne, who was still hired by and worked for the Vice President of the NBA 14 years. – Did he expect you to do the job. And if not, he will not hesitate to tell you about it. From time to time and I like listening to them, sometimes in very harsh terms. But in most cases [stern] was right.” Stern loved to organize a mini-exams: ask a subordinate questions, the answers to which she knew, and if they were undecided, they staged the dressing.
One of the top-Managerthe NBA admitted that a lot of time out from work with the idea of resignation. But at 22 o’clock bell rang stern, who talked about new goals and how great it will be when they reach them, “And I was ready for stern to pass through walls.”

Permanent Commissioner was more forgiving and the ability to excite people, and the ability to foresee the future of the sport, and that he gushed ideas. For example, in the 1990s, the subordinate gave him the idea to hold a press conference on a new deal with Coca-Cola, by showing the videos on the screens. Stern immediately told to figure out how to organize an event in the cinema: huge screen, videos will not look much better. “You go into his office, thinking you thought of everything, – concluded the subordinate. And he says that you don’t come to mind – and, damn it, he’s right!”

Sociologist Harry Edwards, the study of characteristics of athletes of African Americans, said stern’s reputation among the players has only strengthened as a result of negotiations. But sports columnist of the HBO Bryant Gambell called him egocentric, and his negotiation tactics were compared to diplomacy overseer on the plantation. Stern himself many years later, having already left the commissioners of the NBA, responded Gambell: called him “an idiot” in an interview with The Washington Post – another touch to his edgy character.

Shutout of the season 1998/99 ended with a victory of owners of clubs who have established their desired maximum limit of the salaries of players mainly because of the actions of stern, wrote the NYT. He sowed distrust between players and agents, so that the athletes did not know who to listen to.

During the lockout-2011 the owners of the clubs were able to increase its share from 43 to 50% of revenues.

But even stern opponents recognized his service. “Stern understood that the game rests on the players, and raised their market appeal to such heights as never before – told lawyer Jeff Kessler, who represented the Union in numerous battles with stern. – He was a worthy opponent and sometimes a pain in the ass, but I loved him, despite all the difficulties.”

Farewell to Commissioner

as Commissioner of the NBA, stern earned close to $9 million a year, writes ESPN. In February 2014, he retired and could live idly and comfortably. But he is a congenital workaholic. He actively advised his successor, occupied the post of honorary Commissioner of the NBA. Served as Advisor to the investment Bank’s PJT Partners, a venture capital firm Greycroft Partners, the consulting business of PricewaterhouseCoopers and a number of other smaller firms.

In November of last year, Thorne, former Vice President of the NBA, and his wife had lunch with stern and his wife. He was in good health and good spirits. But December 12, stern suffered a stroke and emergency surgery which, unfortunately, failed to save his life. January 1 he died on 78-m to year of life. Shortly before his death he was asked what he would do differently in the NBA, bringing him again to work on these 30 years as Commissioner. “No regrets,’ was the reply. – At the same time I am aware how crazy that sounds like approval.”