MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat along with the entire National Basketball Association is mourning the loss of former commissioner David Stern.

He died January 1st, 2020, three weeks after suffering a brain hemorrhage

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Stern was an engaging personality and a powerful presence. He was a lawyer that worked up the ranks and taking the NBA commissioner’s post in 1984. During his thirty-year tenure, Stern made the NBA far more popular and profitable.

“The loss of David J. Stern is not just a loss for the NBA, the game of basketball and the world of sports, but rather a loss for the global community. The growth of the NBA and the global game of basketball under David’s leadership provided a platform for the League to profoundly impact the lives of so many in our communities and around the world. David did not just change the game of basketball today, but his trailblazing leadership will be felt by generations to come,” said the Miami Heat in a statement.

Stern is also credited with marketing the league’s superstars, like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, and making them global icons.

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“Under David’s stewardship, the NBA and the game of basketball has grown into an international sport. The players, coaches and franchises have become international brands and global phenomenons. I spent a lot of time on committees with David and always marveled at his ability to negotiate and his ability to represent the best interest of the League in any negotiation. He ultimately always represented the love of the game and people who were part of the NBA, including the teams, players, coaches, staff and fans,” said Miami Heat Managing General Partner Mickey Arison.

“David Stern was the best professional sports commissioner ever. What David did for the game of basketball was unparalleled. Everyone involved in the game during his tenure benefitted in a massive way. I personally was one of them. The Miami HEAT mourn with great empathy for Dianne and the Stern family. Today is a very sad day in the NBA,” said Miami Heat President Pat Riley.

Stern founded the WNBA before handing over the reins to Adam Silver.

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David Stern was 77 years old.