He was the National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner from 1984 to 2014 and was the main driving force in launching the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1997.
2013 recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, awarded by Harvard University in recognition of contributions to African and African-American culture.
Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2014, and the International Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
He served on the boards of the Rutgers University Foundation, the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, the NAACP, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Paley Center for Media and Jazz at the Lincoln Center as well as being the chair emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia University.
Under him, seven new franchises were added to the NBA, including Miami Heat, the Charlotte Hornets and Bobcats, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies.
He created a weekend around the All-Star game, including the implementation of the Slam Dunk contest in 1984, the 3-point contest in 1986, the Rookie Game in 1994 and the Skills Contest in 2003.
In 1993, he implemented the Salary Cap in the NBA, allowing athletes partnership in the league and limiting the control of big market teams.
He put together the 1992 Dream Team that won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona