Silver transitions to NBA commish

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NEW YORK – His name already is on the basketball. Soon Adam Silver can put his stamp on the NBA.

On Saturday in New Orleans, a day before the All-Star Game, Silver will give his first state-of-the-league news conference as commissioner — a chance to tell a worldwide viewing audience how he plans to make the NBA bigger and better than it was under David Stern.

Don’t expect anything major.

After working so closely with Stern during his 22 years at the league office, Silver’s fingerprints were already all over the $5.5 billion business long before he became in charge of it 10 days ago.

“I’m not coming in with a five-point plan,” Silver told The Associated Press during an interview at NBA headquarters. “I’m not an outsider coming into the league. I’ve been part of this league for a long time and if there was something that I thought should’ve been done markedly different than the way it’s done now, I think David and I would have pushed each other to do it.

“My priority is the game and that’s what I’ll be telling people (Saturday).”

Silver has been at the NBA since 1992, overseeing the league’s entertainment empire and helping negotiate collective-bargaining agreements. On Feb. 1, he replaced Stern, who stepped down after 30 years.

Silver is generally liked by owners and respected by players, who are counting on him to continue the massive growth the league saw under Stern.

While the NBA’s international growth is frequently considered Stern’s greatest achievement, Silver, 51, seems focused on boosting the game’s popularity in the United States.

Silver often has been ahead of the curve when it comes to basketball.

He attended Duke in the early 1980s, before the Blue Devils became a powerhouse, when nobody camped out outside Cameron Indoor Stadium because you could just get into games with a student ID. He moved to Chicago to attend law school and began going to games with friends in the early days of Michael Jordan, before the Bulls became the biggest thing in basketball.

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