Adam Silver replaces David Stern as NBA commissioner


NEW YORK — Adam Silver has become the NBA’s fifth commissioner.

The NBA posted a picture on its Twitter account Saturday of Silver holding a basketball and shaking hands with outgoing commissioner David Stern.

“It’s official: Adam Silver succeeds David Stern as NBA Commissioner” the caption read.

Stern retired after exactly 30 years in charge, making him the NBA’s longest-serving and most successful commissioner.

Silver joined the NBA as his assistant in 1992 and has been the deputy commissioner since 2006.

“It is a source of great satisfaction to me that the NBA will now be led by Commissioner Adam Silver, for whom I have tremendous admiration, respect and expectations as he and his experienced and dedicated team take the NBA to successes that were unimaginable even a short while ago,” Stern wrote Friday in a thank-you email to media members.

Stern announced Oct. 25, 2012, he would retire, and owners unanimously chose Silver as his successor. The NBA now will use balls with Silver’s signature in games.

A look at Stern’s legacy:

Diversity

Stern has said he’s proudest of the league’s diversity, and that goes from the court all the way up to the league office. There are a dozen black coaches, and women and minorities hold a number of key positions. The final owner Stern welcomed into the league, Sacramento’s Vivek Ranadive, is a native of India.

“It happened very quietly, without forcing people into positions. There was no quota, no Rooney Rule, none of those things.” — Miami Heat owner Micky Arison.

A league of their own

Women’s sports leagues usually come and go quickly.

But riding a wave of popularity in the mid-1990s, two women’s basketball leagues opened for business. The ABL came first, with more overall talent, but the WNBA had Stern’s backing, playing in NBA arenas.

The ABL didn’t last long. The WNBA is still around, with 12 teams.

“There wouldn’t have been a WNBA at all if it wasn’t for David Stern. … That was one of the factors that played into me playing in the WNBA instead of the ABL.” — Rebecca Lobo, an original WNBA player.

Creating the cash

The NBA added seven teams under Stern, bringing its total to 30, has had its games televised in 215 countries and territories, and its revenues increased by 30 fold.

Player salaries have soared to an average of more than $5 million per season, and the national TV deal is worth $930 million annually. He has said the growth will continue after he leaves.

The global guy

It’s probably fitting that Stern’s final news conference as commissioner took place in London, since the NBA’s international growth is perhaps his greatest achievement.

The NBA has played nearly 150 international games, and the rosters of its teams are now loaded with foreign players.

Stern has said he will remain committed to advancing the NBA’s opportunities overseas.

“David Stern … he just globalized it, and right now how many countries know NBA product … (it’s) televised all over the world.” — Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko of the Brooklyn Nets.