What will Stern’s Legacy be?
Under Stern the league sustained strong revenue growth on the marketing backs of the like of Bird, Magic and Michael. Then the shoe contracts came into play which brought mainstream popularity and the expansion of 7 additional teams, then the NBA ventured into small markets like Sacramento, Memphis and Oklahoma City, also a global appeal was gained when Stern allowed the league’s players to take part in the Olympics, and let’s not forget about the establishment of the WNBA, eventually full drug testing and a form of revenue sharing.
Under Stern, the value of franchises soared. When Stern took over, teams were being sold in the $20 million range. In 2010, the Golden State Warriors sold for $450 million.
Stern, most recently saw 11 franchises borrow money from the league to keep their doors open, fans in Seattle have their team ripped from them by the franchises move to Oklahoma City, Stern over and over again fought the perception of a fixed league only to have an official actually get convicted of fixing games and gambling on basketball while claiming that the league has others doing the same. Again….I’ll mention the WNBA.
Stern early on was dynamic and sold what he could to make the league successful. It was the all powerful success that went to his head and has left us, the fans, with only 4 to 5 (Miami, LA Lakers, Dallas, and take your pick) teams who have any real shot at winning a championship this season and thus the interest in the product suffers.
It’s time for Stern to go, I’m just glad he finally realized it.