David Stern is the longest-running commissioner in the history of the National Basketball Association. As head of the popular North American sports league since 1984, he is credited with growing the NBA into a market-savvy, TV-friendly juggernaut and showplace for charismatic superstars like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal. As the NBA puts it in its own online history, "Under Stern's guidance the NBA has enjoyed its period of greatest growth and taken basketball to the forefront of the global sports scene." Stern studied history at Rutgers (graduating in 1963) and then received a law degree from Columbia University in 1966. His first job was with the firm Proskauer Rose, which represented the NBA. Stern hired on with the league as general counsel in 1978. He became commissioner in 1984, the same year that Jordan and Charles Barkley entered the league. Highlights of Stern's tenure include the growth of the league from 24 to 30 teams, the 1992 Olympic 'Dream Team' (in which NBA players first played in the Olympics), and the 1996 founding of the women's professional league known as the WNBA.
The NBA’s other commissioners included Maurice Podoloff (1946-63, when the job was known as NBA president), Walter Kennedy (1963-75), and Larry O’Brien (1975-84). The job title was changed from NBA president to NBA commissioner in 1967… Stern began his tenure on 1 February 1984.
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