By HARVEY ARATON
David Stern stepped into a conference room through a side door from his office. He carried a can of soda and a small plate of tortilla chips.
“My lunch,” he said on a recent weekday afternoon as he settled in to be interviewed jointly with Adam Silver, who will succeed him Saturday as N.B.A. commissioner.
… Stern, 71, was, in the 1970s, a rising star at the New York law firm Proskauer Rose, which provided legal counsel to the N.B.A. and created a way inside the sport he followed growing up across the Hudson River from Manhattan in Teaneck, N.J.
Silver, 51, spent much of his youth in Rye, north of New York City, the son of a Proskauer partner. …
After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Silver seemed to be following in the legal footsteps of his father. “I loved basketball, but I never dreamed about playing in the N.B.A. or certainly working for the N.B.A.,” he said.
The credentials and connections couldn’t have hurt after he wrote a letter to Stern seeking career advice. Silver joined the league in 1992 as Stern’s special assistant and subsequently became chief of staff, the senior vice president of N.B.A. Entertainment, and the deputy commissioner when Russ Granik left that position in 2006.
“We’ve been working intensely close for 22 years,” Stern said. “I’ve been giving him advice and he’s been giving me advice for over two decades. It depended upon the owners ultimately, but I thought he was the logical successor.”
Such is the rebuttal to the social media chatter about the commissioner’s office being too New York-centric, or even too Jewish. Support for Silver, according to league insiders, was widespread. …
On average, as Bryant Gumbel has suggested, NBA team owners aren`t exactly all that different demographically from Stern and his protege Silver.
But when Stern said, “We think alike about a lot of things — not just about basketball, but about life,” he was stressing a more essential point that N.B.A. owners seemed to grasp.