The NBA has long had a good reputation among the four major professional sport leagues. In terms of league reputation, whether among owners, teams, or players, it is well respected.
This can be attributed to good communication. During his lengthy tenure at league commissioner, David Stern was often regarded as the best commissioner in professional sports. While he has ceded control to Adam Silver since, the league reputation has stayed intact.
One of the aspects the NBA has been lauded for is their communication. Communication is critical on a league-wide basis. With so much money at stake, the lines of communication can often be blurred.
While some may attribute the lockout of two seasons ago to poor communication, the fact remains lockouts have become a regular occurrence in nearly every sports league of late.
The NBA has always been good at giving fair, reasonable suspensions when necessary. Complaints are nearly non-existent, because the reasoning is clearly defined from the league all the way down to the player level. Conversely, the league has been known for giving fair chance for appeal, allowing the communication channel to flow both ways.
Communication is also important on a horizontal level. The owners are good at communicating between one another, minimizing disputes. Ownership disputes, rules disputes, and other issues concerning the owners have been solved easily in the past. The owners stand united on the majority of league issues, keeping a solid reputation league-wide.
This model is one that the other three pro sports would be wise to try and mimic. Issues often arise in this area for the other sports, damaging their reputation and public perception.