David Joel Stern (September 22, 1942 – January 1, 2020) was an American lawyer and businessman who was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1984 to 2014. He started with the NBA in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as general counsel, and became the league's executive vice president in 1980. He became commissioner in 1984, succeeding Larry O'Brien. After 30 years, Stern resigned as the longest-tenured commissioner in the history of major North American sports leagues. He was a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and FIBA Hall of Fame.
Stern was credited with increasing the popularity of the NBA in the 1990s and 2000s. He had also been credited with developing and broadening the NBA's audience, especially internationally setting up training camps, playing exhibition games, and recruiting more international players. In addition, with Stern's guidance the NBA opened 12 offices in cities outside the United States, and broadcast to over 200 territories in over 40 languages. Stern also helped found the Women's National Basketball Association and the NBA G League, the NBA's development league. Under Stern, the NBA launched their digital presence with NBA.com, NBA TV and NBA League Pass. He also established the NBA's social responsibility program, NBA Cares.Stern was on the Rutgers University Board of Overseers and was a Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Columbia University. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He is also known as David Joel Stern.