The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame has chosen to honor the late David Stern by granting him a place in the club. Some will see this as a fitting tribute to the former NBA commissioner, who was a huge supporter of the WNBA.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
David Stern was a huge name in the world of basketball from the 1980s until he retired as commissioner in 2014. The former commissioner sadly passed away in January 2020 following a brain hemorrhage.
He was known for being a massive supporter of the women’s game, and he helped raise the profile of the sport considerably. In fact, Stern was instrumental in founding the WNBA. The WNBA announced that Stern would be joining its 2020 Women’s Hall of Fame class as thanks for everything he had done.
A Postponed Celebration
It’s a tremendous moment for Stern’s family, but the former NBA commissioner won’t be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame until June 2021. Stern isn’t the only person to be inducted into the class of 2020, with Lauren Jackson, Swin Cash, and Tamika Catchings also joining the ranks of greats.
Former WNBA player Debbie Brock will also join the Women’s Hall of Fame, alongside contributors Carol Stiff, Sue Donohoe, and Carol Callan. There will also be a special induction for the 1980 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team as Trailblazers of the Game.
Famously, the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, but the WNBA wanted to acknowledge those players nonetheless.
Not His First Time
David Stern has done a lot for the sport, and his induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame isn’t the first time his contributions have been celebrated. The former NBA commissioner has also been inducted into the International Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Stern’s passing means he won’t be there to receive the honor bestowed upon him by the Women’s Hall of Fame.
Although he loved the sport, Stern’s background was in business. The former lawyer did play in the New York Lawyers league as an adult, but he suffered a serious knee injury that ended his playing career. Stern’s association with the NBA began back in 1966, when he worked as an outside counsel.
He maintained a link with the basketball league, and in 1978 he joined the NBA as general counsel. Stern rapidly rose through the ranks, and became the executive vice president of the NBA in 1980. Just four years later, he would replace Larry O’Brien as the NBA commissioner in 1984, in a position he would hold for 30 years.
Stern’s masterstroke as commissioner was to market the league’s players, rather than the franchises. That helped stars like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan become the global superstars they were.
David Stern’s passing is a great loss to basketball around the world. The long-serving NBA commissioner was instrumental in growing the WNBA, and he will be honored by the Women’s Hall of Fame in 2021.