SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died Wednesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage on Dec. 12, is widely seen as an instrumental figure in keeping the Sacramento Kings in California's state capital.
His name sits at the center of a city he helped expand and many agree the Kings would be a relic of the past without him.
“He meant everything to this city and saving the Kings,” said Carmichael Dave, sports personality for The Drive on Sports 1140 KHTK.
Less than a decade ago, the franchise considered moving to other cities vying for an NBA team, but it was David Stern who believed the Kings belonged in Sacramento.
“Without David Stern, the Kings aren't here. It's really is that cut and dry, there's no ifs, ands or buts. If it wasn’t for him stepping in and sticking up for the little guy and girl, there's no team here,” said Carmichael Dave.
Efforts to save the Sacramento Kings led to the development of the Golden 1 Center, Downtown Commons entertainment and dozens of area businesses and the thousands of jobs that came with them.
“Commissioner Stern gave us all the opportunity to demonstrate that Sacramento was an NBA-worthy city, which he knew, but also had the pockets to retain our team. Again, I can't overstate it. If not for David Stern, there's no Sacramento Kings,” said Carmichael Dave.
But he’s credited with even more than preserving Sacramento's NBA status.
President and Chief Operating Officer of Sacramento Republic FC Ben Gumpert Worked alongside Stern during his time at the NBA and says he had a vision like none other.
“I very much can link David and his work, and again, the work of many around the Kings, to Sacramento Republic and MLS. David believed in this community and was very much a part of the starting of the Republic and where we are today,” said Gumpert. “David was a brilliant guy, certainly the smartest guy in the room, as many have said. He was always 25 steps, if not more, in front of all of us, and it was just amazing to see him work.”
The Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Governor Vivek Ranadivé released the following statement Wednesday following Stern’s passing:
"David will always be remembered as Superman in Sacramento. His impact on the league will leave a lasting imprint around the world and his fierce support of the team and this community is the reason why the Kings stayed in Sacramento. David’s enthusiasm for our city and belief in our fans will never be forgotten.
He was a brilliant leader, thoughtful visionary, passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, loyal friend, and loving husband and father who will be deeply missed. David’s unprecedented 30-year tenure as Commissioner will go down in history as the greatest in all of sports. He transformed the game of basketball and turned the league into the global force we know and love today. It has been a great honor to call him a dear friend and his commitment to using the NBA platform to do good will always be a source of great inspiration to myself and many others.
On behalf of the Kings organization, we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Dianne, sons Andrew and Eric, and the entire Stern family as we keep them in our hearts and prayers at this most difficult time.”