LONDON (Olympics/NBA) NBA Commissioner David Stern has been awarded the prestigious Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
He was presented the honour during the half-time of Sunday’s men’s Olympic Basketball Final by IOC President Jacques Rogge, who attended the Final in the North Greenwich Arena.
Together with the then FIBA Secretary General Borislav Stankovic – who was awarded the Olympic Order in 1985 – Stern was the key figure in working towards the participation of professional basketball players in the Olympics, including those of the NBA.
He received the award 20 years after the Barcelona Games, the first edition in which the non-amateur athletes were authorised to play the basketball tournament.
“Thanks to your efforts, you have developed the NBA in a great way and you have developed the international aspect of basketball in a major way,” said Rogge.
“We are proud to have basketball at the Olympic Games.
“It has become a 'hit' since the participation in the 1992 Barcelona Games of the best athletes and the USA Dream Team.”
Among other achievements singled out by Rogge, was his contribution to women’s sport thanks to the setting up of the WNBA, one of the first fully professional sports leagues for women.
The Olympic Order is the highest award of the Olympic Movement and is awarded for the recognition of merits in the cause of sport or the Olympic Movement.
“In recognition of your outstanding merit in the cause of world sport.”
“and your faithfulness to the Olympic ideal, as illustrated by Pierre de Coubertin, renovator of the Olympic Games,
“I award you the Olympic Order.”
These were the words uttered by Rogge as he placed a chain with the Olympic rings around Stern’s neck.
“I am proud and honoured,” said Stern upon receiving the award.
“Together, FIBA the NBA we use our game to bring people together.”
“We will continue to work with FIBA and the Olympic Movement.”