NBA commissioner David Stern has been enjoying a victory lap since he announced last October that he would be stepping down from his post in Feb. 2014, and the longtime chief executive walked out of Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting with a parting gift: a bobblehead doll in his likeness.
Stern's year-long tour has included moments of serious reflection about his nearly 30-year tenure as head of the NBA. Back in February, for example, he fondly recalled a sweaty embrace with Magic Johnson, who had revealed he was HIV-positive at the 1992 All-Star Game after the Lakers legend came out of retirement to be named MVP of the game.
But the scene in New York was much more lighthearted, capped by the presentation of the bobblehead as a tribute gift from deputy commissioner Adam Silver to Stern. The bobblehead was also presented to the league's owners. Can you think of a better gift idea for the basketball-loving multi-millionaire that has it all? (Don't answer that.)
Stern, 71, noted that he was also honored Tuesday at a reception dinner that included a video presentation featuring interviews with Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and other NBA greats.
"In addition to the other tributes to David that he mentioned earlier, there was also an honorary bobblehead distributed to all owners," Silver said, noting that the "likeness isn't quite perfect."
The bobblehead depicts a smiling, gray-haired Stern wearing glasses, a dark suit and a purple tie while holding a Spalding basketball in his left hand. "David J. Stern" is printed on the base.
Stern took the opportunity to crack back on Silver's lacking "artistic abilities" and to make a joke at his own expense.
"[Cavaliers] owner Dan Gilbert ... says unlike bobble heads that go like this (nodding), this one only goes like this (shaking no), and I took that as a huge compliment in dealing with this group," Stern quipped, drawing laughter from the assembled media.