ESPN: NBA commissioner David Stern to retire in early 2014

In this April 13, 2012, file photo, NBA Commissioner David Stern answers a question at a news conference after the NBA Board of Governors meetings in New York. (AP photo)

October 25, 2012 10:54:22 AM PDT
NBA commissioner David Stern will retire on Feb. 1, 2014, completing a 30-year run in which he helped grow the league to dramatic new heights of popularity.

The elevation of Adam Silver, Stern's deputy, to commissioner was unanimously approved Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. Stern, 70, has been the NBA's commissioner since Feb. 1, 1984. Last December, at the time a new collective bargaining agreement was announced, he predicted it would be the final labor deal before he steps down.

"This is a 10-year (labor) deal, with a re-opener at six," Stern said at the time, explaining that either the owners or the players union can opt out after six seasons. "I'm not planning to be here certainly for the 10 and probably not the six."

Stern's first work for the league came in 1966 as outside counsel. As commissioner, he has guided the league through the eras of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. For many NBA fans, he is the only commissioner they have known.