David Stern to Retire as NBA Commissioner in February 2014

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 07: NBA's Commisioner David Stern looks over during the NBA Europe Live game between EA7 Emporio Armani Milano v Boston Celtics at Mediolanum Forum  on October 7, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images)
Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images

David Stern has decided to walk away from the NBA after what will be a 30-year run as league commissioner. Stern has told NBA executives that he will retire on Feb 1, 2014, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

David Stern will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, league sources tell Y! Sports. Deputy Adam Silver will replace Stern.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 25, 2012

The 70-year-old Stern will be replaced by current Deputy NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is best known for commanding the pulpit during the second round of NBA drafts.

Thursday's report comes as a bit of a surprise, but the timing makes sense. With a labor agreement in place until at least 2017 and the presence of polarizing young stars LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, the NBA has stability and a global presence.

Stern was elected commissioner in 1984, succeeding Larry O'Brien and walking into a league that had potential to grow thanks to a young man named Michael Jordan and a captivating rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird..

Never one to mince words, Stern has mandated the push to make the NBA a global game. He also helped navigate the league through multiple labor negotiations and oversaw the league's expansion to Canada.  

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His reign hasn't been without controversy. For what was termed "basketball reasons," Stern vetoed a proposed blockbuster trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the L.A. Lakers. He also raised eyebrows when he pushed for the SuperSonics to move from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

All told, Stern oversaw the addition of seven franchises during his run, and he relocated six franchises, including the Sonics. 

At a press conference Thursday in New York, an emotional Stern said, "The league is in terrific condition." He also praised Silver, saying he believes the next NBA commissioner can take the league to the next level.

Stern went on to give more insight on the situation, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger.

Stern: "I decided that things are in great shape and there's an organization in place."

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) October 25, 2012

The NBA's official Twitter account also shared Silver's thoughts on the matter to the public:

“What an honor to be in this position. I’m honored, thrilled and will do my absolute best to grow this league." - Adam Silver

— NBA (@NBA) October 25, 2012

Stern will officially step down on February 1, 2014 after transitioning Silver into his new position.