Before leaving his post as NBA commissioner, David Stern reinvented himself and the NBA, as he was extremely motivated and put himself out there. Stern learned how to market and sell the NBA to perspective companies. New technology came easy for Stern and he learned every aspect of it. The NBA needed a new look and Stern was the one to bring it to the next level.
One of the biggest accomplishments that Stern developed was the WNBA, this is where athletic women could play basketball at the professional level. In June of 1997, the first WNBA basketball games would be played. WNBA games would be played in the summer after the NBA Finals were done with the first WNBA player that ever signed was Sheryl Swoop.
The first president was Val Ackerman. There were eight teams that started out and has now built to 16 teams. The WNBA team that won the most finals was the Houston Comets, led by Sheryl Swoope.
In 2001, the NBA Development League or the NBA D-League was formed. The D-League is a minor league basketball organization which helps the NBA players become more successful. Sometime the coaches suggest that the NBA players go down to the league and get more practice. About 23 percent of the NBA players has spent time with the league.
By the mid 1990’s, ratings for the NBA soared and Stern was doing more things to make sure of it. Stern created NBA entertainment and produced various tapes and entertainment programs aimed at promoting all the leagues, especially in the finals. Now in 2013-2014, you can see every game played whether it is on Fox Sports, TNT, NBA Live, etc. Who would have thought this in 1980 when the NBA Finals aired at 11:30 on tape delay.
Not only do you have NBA Live but you can access NBA on the internet also and streamline it. Technology has changed in so many ways! NBA online has an average of 600,000 people viewing it. Look at the fantasy basketball you can play online.
Stern opened NBA international offices in Barcelona, Mexico City, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Taiwan, Tokyo and Toronto. The NBA is seen in 215 countries. Stern helped the NBA add seven new franchises: Hornets, Timberwolves, Heat, Magic, Grizzlies, Raptors and the Bobcats.
Not everything was peaches and cream, there were 4 lockouts during his tenure: 1995, 1996, July 1, 1998-January 20, 1999 and this shortened the season to 50 games and the latest in 2011.
It was July 1, 2011 when the last lockout had started by the owners. No teams could trade, sign or contact players and the players were not allowed to enter any NBA team facilities. With the country being in a recession many owners were hit hard by the financial crisis. Stern locked out the players until an agreement was reached, which was December 8, 2011.
The agreement was as follows, players were guaranteed 57 percent of NBA revenue, in the previous deal a 50-50 split at saved owners about $280 million dollar a year.
Basketball as we now know it, would only grow and continue on.