Adam Silver has officially assumed the role of NBA commissioner, replacing David Stern, who steps down 30 years to the day after he inherited the position from Larry O’Brien. The move was first announced in October 2012, giving Silver ample time to transition from his post as deputy commissioner, which he’s held since 2006. That job now goes to Mark Tatum, who had been serving as the NBA’s vice president of global marketing partnerships.
Stern, 71, oversaw a period of remarkable growth, inheriting the NBA just as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were entering their primes and a few months before Michael Jordan would enter the league. The game has continued to grow since their retirements, despite a pair of lockouts and four franchise relocations. The league’s annual revenue has risen from $165MM to $5.5 billion during Stern’s tenure, while the average player salary has gone from $290K to an estimated $5.565MM. He served longer than any other commissioner in the history of the NBA, National Football League and Major League Baseball.
Silver joined the NBA in 1992 and held numerous executive roles within the league until his appointment as deputy commissioner. There’s widespread uncertainty about just how Silver will govern, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes, but his track record suggests he’ll focus on the business and marketing side of the game in an attempt to continue revenue growth. Silver was involved in negotiations with the players union during the 2011 lockout, and the next battle on that front will likely come after the 2016/17 season, when the NBA and the union both possess options to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement.