Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who handed over duties to Adam Silver five years ago, sat down with Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated to discuss his tenure and the state of the NBA since he left the position. In the piece, which is worth a read, Stern tells Spears that he has “no regrets” about his time leading the NBA.
“I have no regrets. I know that sounds crazy,” Stern said. “Other than the regrets of lockouts, I would love to have had clear sailing and unanimous agreement on collective bargaining, but I didn’t, and that’s a failure, I would say. I am so happy because when I took over the NBA, our players’ reputations were, I would say, in the basement of the pyramid of celebrity. And now they’re at the tippy-tip of the celebrity pyramid. They’re the most listened to, the most beloved, in some ways, and the most important athletes in all of sports.”
Stern added the NBA “couldn’t be in better shape” and said that he believes the heavy player movement in free agency “gives the NBA ownership of a huge chunk of calendar real estate.”
The former commissioner also touched on the dress code that he implemented back in 2005, telling Spears that fashion was always an opportunity for them to shine and he’s “glad” that many are taking advantage of that opportunity now. Outside of fashion, players are using their platforms in different ways than they did just five years ago, such as speaking out on social issues. Stern is “very pleased to see those developments” and he’s particularly thrilled with the work of LeBron James.
“I take enormous pride in watching LeBron and his school activities, his charitable activities, and his leadership activities on social issues. It’s a great thing,” Stern said.
Stern took over as commissioner of the NBA in February of 1984 and held the post for 30 years, stepping down in 2014.