In case you’ve been under a rock for the last thirty years, David Stern was the commissioner during the NBA’s most successful period in history.
Stern was the last inductee to speak, and was accompanied by Johnson, Bird, Russell, Bob Lanier and former deputy commissioner Russ Granik on the stage. Michael Jordan, Johnson, Bird, Russell, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were among the many stars who were featured in a highlight video talking about all the accomplishments Stern helped the NBA reach.
Stern told stories of each man who was on stage with him and what each individual meant to his career and the NBA. He kept his induction speech short, and thanked his wife and his family. He also talked glowingly of the state of the game, its impact globally, and the NBA’s initiatives in communities and values all over the world.
“You got to love the game, and everything that we do is always about the game,” said Stern, who has been giving lectures and talks around the country. “In China, we had a guide that told us she was a big fan of the red oxen. She was corrected; she meant Bulls.
“It is always about the game. And we have wonderfully articulated our values together. We go around the world and talk about exercise and fitness and good health. We enroll a million Indian children into junior NBA and junior WNBA because we teach them about discipline, about hard work, about sacrifice, teamwork and about a sense of confidence that comes from accomplishing something. It is absolutely incredible but it is always about the game.”