Former NBA commissioner David Stern has died aged 77, three weeks after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
The New Jersey native began his association with the league in 1966 before he became commissioner in 1984, and spent the next three decades growing into it a successful global business.
He suffered a brain hemorrhage on December 12 and underwent emergency surgery, but died on Tuesday at his New York home with his wife, Dianne, and their family at his bedside.
“The entire basketball community is heartbroken,” the National Basketball Players Association said.
“David Stern earned and deserved inclusion in our land of giants.”
Mr Stern was involved in modernising the league with the drug testing program, the implementation of the salary cap and the creation of a dress code.
He turned countless ballplayers into celebrities who were known around the globe by one name: Magic, Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, just to name a few.
Mr Stern oversaw the birth of seven new franchises and the creation of the WNBA and NBA Development League, now the G League, providing opportunities to pursue careers playing basketball in the United States that previously were not available.