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David Joel Stern (born September 22, 1942) is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He started with the Association in 1966 as an outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as General Counsel, and became the league's Executive Vice President in 1980. He became Commissioner in 1984 succeeding Larry O'Brien. He is credited with increasing the popularity of the NBA in the 1990s and 2000s.