Columbia University, law degree, 1966
Rutgers University, history major, 1963
Stern entered sports league management with a background in law. After receiving his law degree, Stern began working with a law firm that represented the National Basketball Association. In 1978 Stern joined the NBA as general counsel and in 1980 became the league’s executive vice president.
Current and Past Titles, Honors:
Chair emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia University
Board of Beth Israel Medical Center
Board of the Rutgers University Foundation
Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission
Board of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
Board of the Museum of Television and Radio, and Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The NBA’s fourth commissioner, Stern began his tenure on February 1, 1984.
Most would consider Stern’s tenure to be the most successful for the league, which has expanded in several ways under his watch. There are seven new franchises and the league has greatly increased its national television exposure. With those increases, league revenues have skyrocketed, up 15 fold according to NBA.com.
The league’s growing international initiatives have led to the televising of NBA games in 215 countries in 43 languages. NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network that was launched in 1999, is available in 73 countries.
Also under Stern’s watch, the Women’s National Basketball Association was launched as well as the NBA Developmental League. The leagues’ Web sites, NBA.com, WNBA.com and NBADLEAGUE.com, attract 3-million visitors a day.
Under Stern’s watch, the league also has increased its off-court commitments to social programs. It launched NBA CARES in 2005, a charity to which teams and players have committed more than $100-million. League members have committed more than a million hours of service to the charity, which focuses on community outreach programs to help children and families.
Other charities supported by the NBA and its players include child abuse prevention, drug abuse prevention, hunger relief, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the Special Olympics.