Widely regarded as one of the best commissioners in all of sports, Stern, commissioner since 1984, has stepped down today.
In 2006, he was honored with a Lithuanian State award.
„It is my honor to receive the award bestowed upon me by Lithuania”, Stern reportedly said during the special ceremony to celebrate Lithuanian basketball, held on the margins of NBA All Star weekend in Houston in 2006.
“Lithuania remains as one of the top producers of basketball talent in the world. […] NBA benefited from nine former and current Lithuanian players”, Stern said on another occasion that can be viewed in a video below.
It was during Stern’s tenure as NBA commissioner, when Lithuania’s basketball star Sarunas Marciulionis became the first regular in the NBA from the Soviet Union in 1989 and when another Lithuania’s star and former Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis was inducted into the Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and when NBA doors opened to many other Lithuanian athletes.
Stern’s last encounter with Lithuanian basketball was at 2011 NBA Drafts where he shook hands with Jonas Valanciunas after he was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the fifth overall pick.
Watch Stern's congratulation message below.