David Stern: 30 Years Of The Commissioner Greeting Players On Stage At The NBA Draft Slideshow

David Stern, Hakeem Olajawan

1984: The Superstars

Stern and his mustache begin their tenure just as future Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (above), Michael Jordan, John Stockton and Charles Barkley enter the league, ushering in a new age of superstars in basketball.

David Stern, New York Knicks, Dave DeBusschere

1985: The Infamous Lottery

Stern institutes a draft lottery to prevent teams from purposely losing games to get a higher pick. Controversy ensues when he is accused of fixing the 1985 NBA draft to give the "big-market" New York Knicks the first overall pick to take Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing. More controversy follows as Stern shaves his mustache after just one year, making the stache the shortest tenured piece of facial hair in Stern’s 30 years as commissioner.

David Stern, Len Bias

1986: Len Bias Tragedy

Stern shakes hands with Celtics first-round pick Len Bias who dies from a cocaine overdose two days later. It exemplifies the growing use of drugs in big-time sports.

David Stern, Mark Jackson

1987: Rising Popularity

Pictured above with Mark Jackson, Stern, just four years after taking over as commissioner, oversees the 1987 NBA Finals between Magic’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics that garners the highest TV rating in the NBA’s history to that point.

David Stern, Hersey Hawkins

1988: Beginning Of Expansion

Stern, shaking hands with Hersey Hawkins during the 1988 draft, recognizes basketball's increasing nationwide popularity and adds two more teams to the league: the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat.

David Stern, Willie Burton

1989: Two More Teams

The expansion continues as the league grows to 27 teams with the Timberwolves to Minnesota and the Magic to Orlando. Stern is shown above shaking hands with Willie Burton, the first-round pick of the Miami Heat.

David Stern, Dwayne Schintzius

1990: Big Money TV

Stern, seen above shaking hands with Florida's Dwayne Schintzius, spearheads two four-year television deals: One worth $275 million with TNT to broadcast games on cable and the other worth $601 million with NBC to broadcast games on network television.

David Stern, Dikembe Mutumbo

1991: Drug Abuse Policy

In an effort to reform the NBA’s drug problem, Stern, shaking hands above with Dikembe Mutumbo, establishes a system in which players afflicted by drug abuse could come to the league for treatment with no penalty. But players caught using drugs that did not come forward were dealt with harshly. Suns forward Richard Dumas tests positive for cocaine and Stern subsequently bans him from the league indefinitely.

David Stern, Shaquille O'Neal

1992: The Dream Team

Stern welcomes Shaq (above) into the league. This year the commissioner helps orchestrates the formation of the 1992 Dream Team that wins the gold medal in Barcelona and propels basketball’s popularity to a global scale.

David Stern, Acie Earl

1993: The Jordan Hiatus Conspiracy

Michael Jordan retires, and rumors circulate that Stern suspended him from basketball to sort out his alleged gambling addiction. In the meantime, Stern greets Acie Earl (above) after being selected 19th overall by the Celtics.

David Stern, Jalen Rose

1994: Even Bigger Money TV

Stern, posing above next to Fab Five forward, Jalen Rose, is at the forefront of another slew of lucrative television deals: a four-year $397 million deal with TNT/TBS and a four-year $892 million deal with NBC.

David Stern, Kevin Garnett

1995: Stern Takes Canada

Stern shakes hands with T-Wolves' first-round pick Kevin Garnett, and decides to expand the league into our neighbors to the north, putting franchises in Vancouver and Toronto. The offseason is plagued by a lockout over salary caps, free agency, and revenue sharing, lasting from July 1 to Sept. 12.

David Stern, Ray Allen

1996: The Ephemeral Second Lockout

Another lockout occurs on July 10, but it settled within hours of its announcement. A month earlier, Stern shakes hands with sharpshooter Ray Allen, who is selected fifth overall by the T-Wolves and immediately traded to the Bucks in a deal involving Stephon Marbury.

David Stern, Tim Duncan

1997: Hello, WNBA

Stern, shaking hands here with first overall pick Tim Duncan, is essential in the formation of the WNBA in 1997.

David Stern, Antwan Jamison

1998: The Third Lockout

Stern, greeting fourth overall pick Antawn Jamison, settles the lockout on Jan. 20, 1999, forcing the season to be shortened to 50 games for each team.

David Stern, Richard Hamilton

1999: NBA TV

Stern, posing with a pre-facemask Richard Hamilton, launches NBA TV, the first television channel owned and operated by a major professional sports league.

David Stern, Darius Miles

2000: Softening The Game

Players adjust to Stern's attempt to curb the league’s physicality by eliminating hand-checks and restricting forearm checks to below the free-throw line extended. The commish shakes hands here with Clippers' first-round pick Darius Miles.

David Stern, Pau Gasol

2001:Development and International Influence

In perhaps the most influential year of Stern’s tenure, he creates the National Basketball Development League and teams up with FIBA for a Basketball Without Borders program. Fittingly, Stern shakes hands with European superstar Pau Gasol after he is selected third overall by the Memphis Grizzlies.

David Stern, Chris Wilcox

2002: On The Move

After the Grizzlies left Vancouver for Memphis the year before, the the trend continues the trend with the Hornets going from Charlotte to New Orleans. At the draft, Stern greets Chris Wilcox, who won the NCAA title at Maryland.

David Stern, LeBron James

2003: Bringing In The Tech

Stern begins to weave technology into the game, allowing referees to use limited instant replay during the game. He also welcomes an 18-year old LeBron into the league.

David Stern, Dwight Howard

2004: The Bobcats

Stern expands the league yet again, creating the Bobcats franchise in Charlotte after relocating their Hornets to New Orleans two years earlier. At the draft, he greets No. 1 overall pick Dwight Howard in a draft that is the last to have players coming straight from high school.

David Stern, Ian Mahimni

2005: Dress Code

In of the most controversial actions of Stern's career, the commissioner enforces an NBA Dress Code many players see as a way to limit hip-hop’s influence in the NBA. Stern, pictured above with Ian Mahinmi, also begins the NBA Cares Program, which pledges to raise $100 million, volunteer one million hours and build 100 youth sites.

David Stern, Brandon Roy

2006:- Young Players and New Balls

Stern, shaking hands here with Brandon Roy, announces that the league will begin using a new "micro-fiber" ball that upsets many players. The ball is replaced halfway through the season, and Stern admits his blunder. But a more lasting decision by Stern remains: He increases the age of eligibility to the NBA draft from 18 to 19, angering many high school prospects.

David Stern, Joakim Noah

2007: The Donaghy Stain

In the lowlight of Stern’s tenure, Tim Donaghy admits to making calls that influenced the outcome of games to win bets that he placed on the teams. In the image above, Stern welcomes Joakim Noah into the league whose Hello Kitty lunchbox is, unfortunately, not shown.

David Stern, Derrick Rose

2008: The Biggest Money Yet

Stern draws both mass criticism and praise. He oversees the move of the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City after the team had played 41 seasons in Seattle, but Stern also helps close an eight-year, $7.44 billion deal with ABC/ESPN. He also greets Bulls No. 1 overall pick, Derrick Rose.

David Stern, Blake Griffin

2009: Honoring The Champion

In an homage to 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell, Stern, above with Blake Griffin, renames award for MVP of the Finals the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award.

David Stern, John Wall

2010: Guns n' Suspensions

After the NBA works so hard to change its violent and thuggish image, Wizards players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton bring guns into the locker room. Stern, shown above with Wizards first-round pick John Wall, comes down hard, suspending both players for more than 50 games.

David Stern, Kyrie Irving

2011: The Veto

The fourth lockout of Stern's reign forces the season to be shortened to 66 games. Stern also gives more ammo to his conspiracy theorists by vetoing a trade that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the league-owned Hornets to the Lakers. In the year after LeBron moves to Miami, Stern shakes hands with Cavaliers' first-round pick, Kyrie Irving.

David Stern, Anthony Davis

2012: Relocation and Retirement

Stern oversees the New Jersey Nets' relocation to Brooklyn and announces his retirement from the league. He also welcomes the Brow into the NBA, just months after Anthony Davis wins the NCAA championship with Kentucky.

David Stern - The Pelicans...?


In perhaps the biggest blunder of his career, Stern allows the New Orleans Hornets to change its name to the New Orleans Pelicans, a move that will surely haunt the French Quarter for years to come.

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