Former NBA commissioner David Stern died on Wednesday, aged 77.
Stern suffered a brain haemorrhage on December 12 and underwent emergency surgery, but he died on New Year's Day.
He became the NBA's fourth commissioner in early 1984 and was the longest-serving, remaining in the position for 30 years.
"For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends," current NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
"We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.
"David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched ground-breaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world.
"Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand – making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation.
"Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David's vision, generosity and inspiration. Our deepest condolences go out to David's wife, Dianne, their sons, Andrew and Eric, and their extended family, and we share our grief with everyone whose life was touched by him."
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