David Stern was the longest-tenured commissioner in the history of the National Basketball Association. He served in the job from 1984-2014. David Stern is credited with growing the NBA into a market-savvy, TV-friendly juggernaut and showplace for charismatic superstars like Michael Jordan
and Shaquille O'Neal
. As the NBA's own online history stated in 2012, "Under Stern's guidance the NBA has enjoyed its period of greatest growth and taken basketball to the forefront of the global sports scene." David Stern studied history at Rutgers University (graduating in 1963) and then received a law degree from Columbia University in 1966. His first job was with the firm Proskauer Rose, which represented the NBA. Stern hired on with the league as general counsel in 1978. Stern became the league's commissioner in 1984, the same year that Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley
entered the league. Highlights of Stern's tenure included the growth of the league from 24 to 30 teams, the 1992 Olympic 'Dream Team' (in which NBA players first played in the Olympics), and the 1996 founding of the women's professional league known as the WNBA. David Stern retired as commissioner in 2014 and was replaced by his deputy and protege, Adam Silver. David Stern was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, and the international FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016.