On Saturday the most powerful commissioner in professional sports history, David Stern, handed over the reins of the league to his right hand man of the past two decades, Adam Silver, ushering in a new era. Compare the league today to the one Stern took over from Larry O’Brien, and you’ll see just how far he took a once-failing business model and transformed it into the worldwide powerhouse that it is today.
To illustrate just how the league has prospered under Stern, consider these facts culled from this article. The average value of one of the 23 teams he inherited in 1984 was $17.4 million for a total of $400 million. The least valuable franchise, the Milwaukee Bucks, is valued in 2014 at $405 million by itself, with three teams, the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls all worth more than a billion dollars, bolstered by personalities like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and a global marketing initiative that not only made the aforementioned players some of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, they became some of the most recognizable people on Earth.
There’s absolutely no disputing the fact that David Stern was a godsend for the NBA as a whole, but strictly from Boston’s point of view, the Celtics franchise was actually on the decline during the most of Stern’s 30 years. In fact, they averaged just one title per decade and won games at a lower rate under Stern (.545) than any of his predecessors, and suffered through 12 of the 19 losing seasons in franchise history under Stern. Here’s Boston’s record by Commissioner, crediting each with a full season during their transition years.
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.