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Silver, 58, is the fifth commissioner in NBA history, succeeding David Stern in February 2014 following a unanimous vote by the league’s 30 team owners. As commissioner, Silver is responsible for league policy on broadcast rights deals, corporate sponsorships, growth in international markets and labor negotiations. He also guides operations for the WNBA, the NBA’s development G-League and the NBA 2K League.
The most consequential decision of Silver’s tenure as commissioner occurred in mid-March, when he determined the NBA should indefinitely suspend its 2019-20 season after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Silver will play a leading role in the coming months as the NBA and players’ union representatives develop a plan to safely return to the court.
The coronavirus pandemic is the latest in a series of major obstacles Silver has faced since becoming commissioner. Months before the shutdown, Silver was forced to navigate an international incident that threatened the league's lucrative business in China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong on Oct. 4.
Silver backed Morey’s right to free speech, prompting sharp criticism from the Chinese government. State-run television network CCTV pulled NBA games off the air and many of the league’s corporate sponsors in China suspended their deals.
A longtime NBA executive, Silver has developed a reputation for decisive action. Just three months after becoming commissioner, Silver banned former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life after he was caught on tape making racist remarks.
Before becoming commissioner, Silver served under Stern as NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for eight years. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of the league’s media arm, NBA Entertainment.
Silver is under contract with the NBA through the 2024 season. The financial terms of his deals are not publicly known.