Adam Silver

Duke ’84

The Next Commissioner of the National Basketball Association



In the Spring of 1981, Adam Silver became a member of the North Carolina Alpha Chapter at Duke University. Following his Duke experience, he attended the University of Chicago where he earned his law degree in 1988. In that same year, Silver attended an NBA All-Star game where he met David Stern, which proved to be a providential meeting and ultimately changed the direction of his career. Silver was recently tapped as Commissioner of the $5 billion dollar league; his term will commence February 2014 upon Stern’s retirement.

Silver was born in a town north of New York City in Westchester County. During his time as a Phi Delta Theta at Duke University he held the position of Alumni Secretary. Before his career with the NBA began, he served as a law clerk to Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood, and then as a litigation associate at a top New York law firm. After four years in the legal field, he began considering other options. It was during this time that David Stern hired Silver as a special assistant and later became Stern’s chief of staff.

Stern and other business associates say Silver’s practical nature, calm presence, and strong work ethic are just a few of the reasons he will excel in this role. He has held various executive roles in the NBA over the past twenty years and, in recent years, has been considered David Stern’s right-hand-man. He played a key role in solving the dispute during the NBA lockout in 2011 and has been heavily involved with other aspects of the business including television deals, labor negotiations, franchise sales, and stadium development.

While holding many positions in the league, and currently serving as deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, Silver has received wide recognition in business and sports. Silver has been named as a Global Business Influential by CNN and Time Magazine and appeared multiple times on The Sporting News’s list of “100 Most Powerful People in Sports.”

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