Former NBA commissioner David Stern was admitted to a New York City hospital Thursday afternoon after suffering a brain hemorrhage, the league announced.
"NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery," the NBA said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family."
New York's fire department responded to a 911 call at a Midtown restaurant at 1:59 p.m. Fire officials then transported the 77-year-old Stern to Mount Sinai West medical center.
There was no immediate word on his condition.
Stern served as NBA commissioner from 1984-2014, a 30-year run that helped shape the league into the global force it is today. Under his watch, the NBA added seven new teams and relocated six other franchises. The league's annual revenue from its television contract increased 40 times, the average player salary jumped from $250,000 a year in 1984 to more than $5 million, and the value of franchises skyrocketed.
The NBA exploded globally under Stern, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
The league opened 13 offices worldwide, staged regular-season games outside the U.S. -- a first in professional sports - and allowed its players to compete in the Olympics, notably the gold medal-winning "Dream Team" in 1992. He also founded the WNBA in 1997.