Lakers, Knicks Cancel Practices Ahead of Game to Attend David Stern's Memorial

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IJanuary 21, 2020

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 7: NBA Commissioner Emertus David Stern is honored before the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors on January 7, 2020 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, but neither team will practice beforehand.

Practices were canceled so members from both franchises could attend former NBA Commissioner David Stern's private memorial service at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday morning, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

"We're going to go to the memorial service for David Stern," Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller confirmed following the team's 106-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. "Happy to be a part of it and go to it and pay tribute to everything he's done in his life. We're all going."

Stern died on Jan. 1 after suffering a brain hemorrhage on Dec. 12. He was 77 years old.

"Under Stern the NBA added seven new teams, and the relocation of six NBA franchises," The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame wrote of the 2014 inductee. "The expansion of the global game was one of Stern's greatest accomplishments during his tenure by opening 13 global NBA offices and staged regular-season games outside the U.S., which was the first-ever in professional sports."

Stern served as the league's commissioner from Feb. 1, 1984, to Feb. 1, 2014. The New York native announced he was planning to step down in Oct. 2012, and Adam Silver was tapped as his replacement.

Silver issued a statement following Stern's death. It read, in part:

"For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. 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 the 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. ... 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."

LeBron James also commended Stern's "worldwide" vision for the NBA in an Instagram post. The three-time NBA champion was not the only star to honor Stern:

The basketball world will come together to give tribute to Stern in person Tuesday. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts will be among the speakers at Stern's memorial.