When word got out that David Stern announced he would be retiring as commissioner of the NBA on Feb. 1, 2014 through an email to NBA executives, it signaled the beginning of the end of an era. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver will assume the job on that day, but Stern's ending is one many would not have expected from the commissioner with the golden touch.
After spending much of his tenure globalizing a sport which featured a predominantly African-American collection of players, expanding the game's reach in order to infuse the league with talented foreign players and allowing his superstars to become the faces of the league instead of franchises, Stern has hit tough times in recent years.
Seattle fans will never forgive him for allowing the Sonics to leave for Oklahoma City, and his stranglehold on the mindset of the NBA owners was tested during a lockout that almost ended a season before it started last year.
But the late missteps will not destroy a tenure filled with a plethora of success stories. The NBA is the global power it is now due to Stern's reign as commissioner. Seeing someone other than him running things will take some time to get used to.