NEW YORK — David Stern, who spent 30 years as the NBA's longest-serving commissioner and oversaw its growth into a global power, has died. He was 77.
The league says Stern died Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage Dec. 12.
Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before becoming commissioner in 1984. By the time he left, a league that had struggled for a foothold had grown into a more than $5 billion a year industry and become perhaps the world's most popular sport after soccer.
The league said in a statement that Stern passed away Wednesday afternoon as a result of the brain hemorrhage he had suffered around three weeks ago in December.
Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said his predecessor was a mentor and dear friend.
The Associated Press contributed.