It’s been five years since NBA commissioner David Stern handed the baton to Adam Silver. A lot has happened in the league during that time, from former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling being banned from the league for racist statements to the Golden State Warriors winning three titles to LeBron James and other NBA stars making their voices known on social issues and calling shots as to where they want to play to women joining coaching staffs and front offices.
From the 33rd floor of a Manhattan high-rise office building near Central Park on this August day, the still-busy 76-year-old told The Undefeated that he loves the direction of the NBA and has “no regrets” about his own 30-year tenure.
“I have no regrets. I know that sounds crazy,” Stern told The Undefeated. “Other than the regrets of lockouts, I would love to have had clear sailing and unanimous agreement on collective bargaining, but I didn’t, and that’s a failure, I would say. I am so happy because when I took over the NBA, our players’ reputations were, I would say, in the basement of the pyramid of celebrity. And now they’re at the tippy-tip of the celebrity pyramid. They’re the most listened to, the most beloved, in some ways, and the most important athletes in all of sports.”
Stern recently took part in a Q&A with The Undefeated. Here are some of the former NBA commissioner’s thoughts on the NBA’s past, present and future.
What are you up to now?
I’m involved with many sports technology startups, which is a great deal of fun, and about the game, about televising the game, and about player health. That’s a very important issue for me. Imagine if we could extend the career of every player by a year. That would be great for the players, priceless for the league. And I think that technologically speaking, NBA games are going to stream, they’re going to use virtual reality, they can use artificial intelligence, they’re going to use wearable technology. It’s going to be really interesting, and so that’s the way I stay involved.