From 1984 until 2014, the NBA was led by one man, David Stern. A beloved figure and a giant in the game, the former commissionerat the age of 77 after suffering a brain hemorrhage late last year.
There were countless tributes and words of admiration shared in the immediate aftermath of his death, but on Tuesday, the NBA world had a chance to pay their final respects during his memorial service in New York City. The event was held at a packed Radio City Music Hall and featured NBA stars both past and present.
There was a video tribute honoring Stern’s legacy, and a number of speakers, including current NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and legends such as Magic Johnson and Pat Riley.
“David said, ‘It doesn’t matter what people think about you, but what they feel about you,’ Silver told the crowd during his remarks. “What I felt about David, I loved him.” Johnson, meanwhile, described Stern as his “angel,” and said that Stern’s decision to allow him to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, “saved my life.”
It was obviously a somber event, but Stern’s son, Eric, was able to bring some levity with some off-color humor.
While Stern’s passing was terrible news, it was touching to see how many people came out on Tuesday to honor the life and legacy of one of the NBA’s truly legendary figures. That alone showed just how much he meant to not only the game of basketball but the people he worked with.