An outpouring of love, NBA world mourns death of David Stern

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The NBA, as we know it, would not exist today without David Stern.

Stern died Wednesday at the age of 77, succumbing to a brain hemorrhage he suffered three weeks previously. The passing of the former commission has brought out an outpouring of love from every corner of the NBA universe. Here’s just a sampling of the reactions:

• “For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action,” current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.

“David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world. Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand – making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation.

“Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David’s vision, generosity and inspiration. Our deepest condolences go out to David’s wife, Dianne, their sons, Andrew and Eric, and their extended family, and we share our grief with everyone whose life was touched by him.”

• “Without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today,” Hornets owner and Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan said in a statement. “He 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 stage that allowed me to succeed. David had a deep love for the game of basketball and demanded excellence from those around him – and I admired him for that. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. I offer my deepest sympathies to Dianne and his family.”

• Statement from the NBA Players union: “The entire basketball community is heartbroken. David Stern earned and deserved inclusion in our land of giants. His impact on our game and our business is immeasurable and the rewards we reap will continue to be appreciated by NBA players and their families for generations. As tough an adversary as he was across the table, he never failed to recognize the value of our players, and had the vision and courage to make them the focus of our league’s marketing efforts – building the NBA into the empire it is today. We owe him and we will miss him.”

• From Knicks’ owner James Dolan: “David Stern was not only one of the greatest commissioners in the history of sports, he was an incredible individual and friend. He was loyal and fair, patient and wise, and made all of us who had the privilege of knowing him better. The NBA will stand forever as a testament to his lasting legacy and all those who worked with him or for him, sat next to him or across the table from him are better because of it. I join with everyone in the basketball family to extend my personal condolences to Diane, Eric and Andrew.”