NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has held his post since Feb. 1, 1984, will step down on Feb. 1, 2014, and be succeeded in his role by his deputy, Adam Silver.
The decision was unanimously approved Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors.
The 70-year-old Stern watched over the NBA through its early struggles to its rise as one of the most popular sports in the country and the world. He started working for the NBA in 1966 as outside counsel.
“You'll be remembered as the best of all-time,” Silver told Stern, sitting to his left on a podium during a news conference.
Stern said he decided on his plans about six months ago, having guided the league through a lockout that ended nearly a year ago. He said the league is in great shape and he is confident in Silver, who has been the league's No. 2 since 2006.