Stern to retire in February 2014

NBA commissioner David Stern has announced his retirement, effective February 2014.

Stern will call it quits on Feb. 1, 2014, exactly 30 years after he took over stewardship of the league and began one of the most accomplished leadership tenures in sports history.

Adam Silver, the NBA's deputy commissioner, will succeed Stern.

"It's been a great run and it will continue for another 15 months," said Stern at a press conference during the NBA's Board of Governors meeting in New York. "The league is in terrific condition.

"I'd like to think that I did an adequate job, but one of the things I did best was to provide a successor ... that will be able to take things to the next level."

Stern first joined the NBA as general counsel in 1978 and became an executive vice president two years later before succeeding Larry O'Brien in 1984.

When Stern first became commissioner, the league was just beginning to explode nationally in the early years of the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird rivalry. It took off a few years later when Michael Jordan became a global superstar.

The NBA has expanded from 23 to 30 teams during his tenure while enjoying immense worldwide popularity through an incredible marketing plan. He helped revenues for the league and players grow, and oversaw the inclusion of the league's players in the Olympics.

Four lockouts, the most recent coming last year, have somewhat tarnished his legacy. His popularity, especially with players, has also diminished recently.

Silver was at the forefront of last year's labor negotiations with the NBA Players' Association and helped hammer out a 10-year collective bargaining agreement last December.

"I can't begin to express my gratitude for what the NBA has done for me over the past 20 years," Silver said Thursday. "What an honor to be in this position. The opportunities for this league are limitless."

Silver joined the NBA in 1992 and spent more than eight years as president and COO of NBA Entertainment before becoming deputy commissioner and COO in July 2006.