(NBC BAY AREA)-- Former NBA Commissioner David Stern has died three weeks after he was hospitalized due to a “sudden brain hemorrhage,” according to the NBA. He was 77.
Stern was at a Manhattan restaurant when he collapsed on Dec. 12. The league said that he suffered a hemorrhage "for which he underwent emergency surgery. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Stern served exactly 30 years as the NBA's longest-tenured commissioner before Adam Silver replaced him on Feb. 1, 2014. Stern has remained affiliated with the league with the title of commissioner emeritus and has remained active in his other interests, such as sports technology.
He was widely regarded as one of the greatest commissioners in American sports history, overseeing the remarkable growth of the league — whose games are now televised in more than 200 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages — as well as the WNBA, which he helped form in the 1990s, and the NBA's G League.
Stern had a hand in numerous initiatives that changed the league, including drug testing, the salary cap and implementation of a dress code.
He wouldn't even let staffers use the word "retire" when he left his office, because he never intended to stop working. He has kept an office in New York and regularly travels into the city for work on the projects he pursued once he turned the league over to Silver.
Stern had remained affiliated with the league with the title of commissioner emeritus and remained active in his other interests, such as sports technology.