Magic, Jordan among the NBA stars 'devastated' by the death of Stern

Washington, January 2, 2020 (AFP) - Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were among the NBA Legends surprised by the death of former league commissioner David on Wednesday after a brain hemorrhage he suffered last month. Stern, who was 77, spent 30 years as commissioner before retiring in 2014 and oversaw the NBA 's growth from a league whose finals weren't televised live to a global sport empire with a worldwide following and talent. The world lost a legend today, said retired NBA star Charles Barkley. He is the greatest commissioner in sports history, plain and simple. Johnson, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers who revealed in 1991 he had contracted the HIV virus, tweeted he was devastated by Stern's death, the 1992 US Olympic Dream Team star adding, I loved and respected him. David Stern was a great creator of the story. When I announced in 1991 that I had HIV, people thought I could get the virus by shaking hands. When David allowed me to play in the 1992 All Star Game in Orlando and then play for the Olympic Games. Dream Team, we could change the world. The current Lakers superstar, LeBron James, posted a tribute to Stern on his Instagram page. Your vision to make our game EVERYONE was a vision that only you could make reality, James wrote. You did exactly that. Make our game the best sport in the world! It was an honor to meet you personally. Stern became the NBA 's fourth commissioner in 1984, masterminding the league's evolution into corporate sponsorships and global markets. Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today, six-time NBA champion Jordan said in a statement. I have guided the league through turbulent times and grew the league into an international phenomenon, creating opportunities that few could have imagined before. His vision and leadership provided me with the global scenario that allowed me to succeed ... I would not be where I am without him. Barkley noted the NBA's average player salary when Stern became commissioner was $ 200,000. Now the average salary is $ 7.7 million. That is due to David Stern. He was an innovator. He was a great businessman. We are all lucky, we have had a great life thanks to David Stern. The money these players win today is thanks to David Stern. Stern imposed a dress code and helped create drug tests and a salary cap that irked some players but helped boost the NBA brand and bottom line, easing sponsor fears as Jordan became an iconic brand. I think it's important ... we remember where this country was in terms of corporate environment and race relations, retired NBA star Isiah Thomas said on NBA TV of Stern's early days as boss. David Stern pushed that envelope to say that this game belonged to everyone, not just a few. Thomas said Stern built an environment that allowed current NBA commissioner Adam Silver to hold firm last year when China was uphappy over an NBA executive's tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters. It gave Adam Silver the ability to stand up to another country today and say, 'No, this is where we stand. This is what the NBA is all about,' Thomas said. - Stern 'innovative, icon' - Stern's loss is deeply felt, retired star guard Reggie Miller told NBA TV. It's a big loss for sports in general because ... he was the one who really marketed the stars, Miller said. He found a way to relate the superstars of our game with the common fan. David Stern was a true fan of the game and demonstrated it in his work. Not only is this global game now thanks to him ... it was a true sport icon. The retired Chicago Bulls legend, Scottie Pippen, described Stern as an innovator who helped turn our sport into a global game and its impact will never be forgotten. You will forever be missed, tweeted Spanish NBA star Pau Gasol. The best commissioner to ever do it, tweeted four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal. The league wouldn't be what it is today without you, NBA scoring leader James Harden of Houston tweeted. The entire NBA family and fans around the world will miss you. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Stern made a bigger impact on the game than any other non-player in the history of the NBA. David Stern really led the expansion of the league. He had the vision of establishing the league in a field where he is today. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude. js/gph This story has not been edited by The Times of India and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe. (This story has not been edited by and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed to which we subscribe.)