Former NBA commissioner David Stern passed away on Wednesday afternoon, the league announced. He was in serious condition following surgery for a brain hemorrhage on December 12. Stern was 77. Stern’s wife, Dianne, and their family were with him at his bedside, the league stated. “For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action,” current NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals — preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.”

Stern was NBA commissioner from 1984 to 2014 and helped grown the NBA into one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Stern was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, and was the longest-tenured NBA commissioner by far. Stern also founded the WNBA in 1996. He was known for implementing rules that aimed to control players; Stern introduced the league’s first drug testing and salary cap, and he instituted a dress code (infamously condemned by Allen Iverson).

Stern brought in seven expansion teams: the Bobcats, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Magic, Raptors, and Timberwolves. He also helped relocate six other teams, including the Supersonics’ move from Seattle to Oklahoma City. Stern was born in New York City in 1942, and spent his childhood in New Jersey as a Knicks fan. He was married to his wife for 56 years at the time of his death. 

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