Former NBA commissioner David Stern dies at 77

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern — who is credited with turning a financially distressed league into a multibillion-dollar behemoth — died Jan. 1, JTA reported. He was 77.

Stern also was a philanthropist, with the Dianne and David Stern Foundation contributing to numerous Jewish causes, Inside Philanthropy reported. Those causes included the UJA-Federation of New York, Scarsdale Synagogue, Westchester Jewish Community Center and Anti-Defamation League.

During his tenure as commissioner, Stern focused on increasing the league’s popularity by promoting the talents of its biggest stars. The league added seven teams during his tenure with six others relocating.

“David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads,” successor Adam Silver said in a statement. “But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs… ”

Stern is a member of both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Nazi salute leads to Holocaust training

After more than 30 correctional academy trainees were dismissed for giving a Nazi salute during a class photo, West Virginia announced plans to introduce Holocaust instructions for its corrections department staff, JTA reported.

The photo of basic training class participants reads “Hail Byrd!” at the top, referring to Karrie Byrd, a correctional academy instructor. Trainees regularly gave the salute “as a sign of respect,” according to a report by state investigators.

Byrd told investigators said she wasn’t aware of the “historical or racial implications of the gesture,” saying it was “simply a greeting,” but other sources suggested that Byrd encouraged it.

Training materials and coursework will be drafted by the regional Anti-Defamation League chapter, the Associated Press reported. JN

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