Former and current Lakers react to the passing of David Stern

David Stern and Shaquille O'Neal
JUNE 1: Shaquille O’Neal poses with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being drafted by the Orlando Magic first overall on June 1,1991 in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1991 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The entire basketball world received terrible news on New Year’s Day, as it was announced that former NBA Commissioner David Stern had passed away. He had been hospitalized since December 17th after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

In his 77 years of life, he spent 30 of those as NBA Commissioner (1984-2014), also spending the previous eight years before that as general counsel for the league. He passed away as a Hall of Famer, being credited with helping turn the NBA into the global phenomenon it is today. Other than helping oversee the NBA’s impressive transformation over his 30 years as Commissioner, he also helped start the WNBA as well as the NBA G League.

Many Lakers of old and new remembered Stern’s legacy on the day of his passing. Here are a few of those instances:

The most notable of the reactions from former Lakers was from, of course, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Magic Johnson had a special relationship with Stern, as Stern oversaw the NBA during Magic’s announcement of being HIV positive in 1991. Below is Magic’s tweet referencing that, but be sure to check out all of Magic’s tweets about Stern, as you can really tell Magic had immense respect for the man.

Someone who’s associated with the Lakers organization that knew Stern as long as Magic did is Lakers owner, Jeanie Buss. She put out an official statement out commending Stern, saying that her father, Dr. Jerry Buss, told her to seek guidance from Stern if she ever needed it.

Many players received the pleasure of being able to walk across the NBA Draft stage and shake Stern’s hand after he called their names. In fact, over 30 years of being the Commissioner, Stern would have shaken upwards of over 1000 players’ hands as their basketball dreams were realized. Many Lakers players shared their thoughts and condolences about Davis Stern, including Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Danny Green.

You can see throughout the league that David Stern had not only a wide, macro impact on the NBA, but that he also had a personal impact on the individuals the worked in the NBA.

He’ll be sorely missed by us here at Lakers Outsiders, as well as anyone who has been a fan of basketball in the past half-century.

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