Fuck man, David Stern was so important to the basketball world. A few weeks ago it was announced that had brain surgery his status was unclear at the time.
I would make the argument that Stern is the most important person of our lifetime in the NBA. Yeah, there was Michael and Bird vs Magic, but Stern put it all together. He knew how to take the momentum from this star talent and capitalize it. That's what makes him so damn important to fans and the basketball world in general. Just looking at some of the notable events during his run and it's pretty crazy:
That doesn't include other things like vetoing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, which drastically changed multiple franchises. That doesn't include allegedly rigging the 1985 lottery so the Knicks could land Patrick Ewing. Just so many memorable moments that all happened because of Stern. He was the one that really let us develop THIS LEAGUE and that's damn impressive.
RIP to the legend.