NEW YORK (CBS13/AP) – Former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will not be at the memorial service for late NBA commissioner David Stern.
In a statement, the former NBA all-star called Stern one of his best mentors.
“You pushed me when I needed to be pushed, supported me when I required a softer touch, and coached me through some of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced,” Johnson wrote.
Stern died on Jan. 1 at 77 after suffering a brain hemorrhage in December.
I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to your memorial service today, but I wanted to write something to you so that you know the impact you had on my life. Rest In Peace.
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) January 21, 2020
Friends, family and colleagues from around the basketball world will gather for the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, just a couple blocks from Stern’s longtime office at NBA headquarters.
Stern was considered instrumental in helping keep the Kings from moving out of Sacramento.
“One of the greatest accomplishments in my life was working with you to keep the Kings in Sacramento,” Johnson wrote. “You facilitated that feat and did it with an unparalleled deftness, strategy and intellect.”
For his part in that work, the team honored Stern by making the address of the new Golden 1 Center 500 David J. Stern Walk.
Stern spent 30 years as the NBA’s commissioner, making his tenure the longest so far.
During his tenure, the NBA added seven new franchises, and the WNBA and NBA G League were created.