You hear his voice every June. The pitch dialed up a few notches with a clear, calculated message.
“With the first pick in the [insert year] NBA Draft, the [insert team] select [insert player] from [insert college],” says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
It’s calming. These giant players don their respective team’s hats and excitedly walk to the stage. Silver greets them with a firm handshake, the official moment these young hoopers’ dreams become reality. A warm welcome to the Association.
He exudes a staunch, quiet confidence that assures the league is on the correct path. All business, but personable. Silver is an unassuming tall, thin man with a shaved head and wired glasses. I get the feeling he’s not one to trifle with, which is why his balance of businessman and friendly public image is perfect to captain the league. There’s a reason he climbed so high. Underneath, there’s Gus Fring Energy (GFE). You know, minus the whole drug empire and decades worth plot for revenge thing.
So how did the commissioner of the NBA climb to his position?
Early Life and First Career
The NBA’s head man was born to Edward Silver and Melba Silver in Rye, New York, just outside New York City, on April 25, 1962. After graduating from Rye High School in 1980, Silver majored in Political Science at Duke University. He graduated in 1984 and worked as a legislative aide for a year under U.S. Representative Les AuCoin. He then attended the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with a J.D. degree in 1988. From there, the American lawyer worked as a clerk for Southern District of New York Judge Kimba Wood and later joined the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore as an associate.
NBA Career and Personal Life
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Silver began his NBA career at the ripe age of 30 in 1992. He served as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for eight years, handling the negotiations of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Basketball Players Association, the conception of the WNBA, the formation of the NBA Developmental League (now the G-League), the inception of NBA China, and securing a partnership with Turner Broadcasting.
Silver rose through the ranks to Senior Vice President, COO and President of NBA Entertainment, NBA Chief of Staff, and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. He helped grow basketball-related films in his NBA Entertainment role, serving as executive producer of the IMAX movie “Michael Jordan to the Max”, documentaries “Whatever Happened to Michael Ray?” and “Year of the Yao”, and the feature “Like Mike.”
Silver’s impressive body of work earned him the praise of then-commissioner David Stern in 2012. He endorsed Silver to succeed him in his position when he would step down in February 2014.
The current commissioner of the National Basketball Association married his wife, Maggie Grise, in 2015. They have two daughters together. He’s a member of Duke’s Board of Trustees and serves on the board of the Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. He won the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago Law School in 2016.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Silver became the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association on February 1, 2014. He had a short, uneventful period before his first major dealing as commissioner involving former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in April 2014. After Sterling made racist remarks to his girlfriend that were caught on video, Silver issued a lifetime banishment to Sterling from all NBA events. The commish fined Sterling $2.5 million and urged owners to vote to expel Sterling from ownership of the Clippers. The punishment was one of the most severe ever imposed on a professional sports owner.
In November 2014, Silver expressed his support of legalizing sports betting in an op-ed published in the New York Times. He became the first acting commissioner of a major U.S. sports league to publicly endorse legalized sports betting.
In the fall of 2019, Silver dealt with the stirring tweet by then-Houston Rockets and current Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong protests. While China responded negatively to the tweet, Silver showed support of Morey’s right to express himself and freedom of speech.
Silver’s work has gained recognition. Sports Illustrated named him Executive of the Year in 2014. The Sports Business Journal named Silver Sports Executive of the Decade in 2019. Silver has also earned recognition on TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People list and as one of Fortune‘s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Adam Silver Net Worth
Silver has managed to grow the league’s revenue each year of his commissionership so far. The NBA’s popularity has exploded, and Silver has it in good hands.