(via Sports Illustrated)

For 30 years, former NBA Commissioner David Stern oversaw one of the biggest transformations in league history. We saw the rise of player empowerment, multiple league expansions, and major globalization of the game. He also oversaw the creation of the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League.

In short, we know that Stern played a huge role in making the NBA what it has become today. The revenue seems to reflect that success, too. The league had more than tripled its revenue between the years before Stern joined and the years following his departure.

While other factors obviously play a role here, the numbers certainly speak for themselves.

Today, the NBA is one of the most profitable sports in America, with a fanbase that extends all the way around the world. The game itself is faster, deeper, and more talented than ever. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the past five years alone.

And while Stern had plenty of controversies over the course of his tenure, there is no arguing his impact on the game’s success today.