(1942 - )
Stern, who is the current commissioner of the NBA, has been called the most powerful man in sports. Under his watch, the NBA has become one of the most popular, and successful, leagues in the world.
After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1966, Stern began handling legal business for the NBA. In 1978, he left his law firm to become legal counsel for the league. Two years later, the position of "Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs" was created for Stern, and he was charged with finding creative and productive ways to use marketing, television, and public relations to boost the NBA's image.
In 1984, at the age of 42, Stern became the fourth commissioner of the NBA. When he assumed his new office, the league was going through an exceptionally difficult financial period. Most teams were losing money. Fan attendance and television ratings had dropped, causing corporate sponsorship to abandon their support. Under Stern's leadership, however, the league became unprecedentedly successful. Stern negotiated an agreement between the players and owners -- who had long regarded each other as adversaries -- based on revenue sharing. The result was not only labor peace, but also prosperity for both players and owners.
Stern also marketed the league by emphasizing the extraordinary skills of such individual stars as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. He was so successful that in the late 1980s, the NFL tried to hire him as commissioner to replace Pete Rozell. Stern declined, staying with basketball. In 1989, the Associated Press voted David the Executive of the Decade.
Source: Jews in Sports