Gottlieb, Edward

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GOTTLIEB, EDWARD ("Eddie ," "The Mogul "; 1898–1979), pioneer innovator, administrator, and promoter of U.S. basketball; member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Born in Kiev, Gottleib and his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was a child, first to New York and then Philadelphia, where he graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1916. Gottlieb helped organize an amateur team under the Young Men's Hebrew Association in 1918, which was subsequently sponsored by the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. That social club provided uniforms with the acronym sphas across the chest in the Hebrew letters sameḥ, pe, he, and alef, and the legendary team – considered one of the greatest early professional teams – won three league titles in the Philadelphia League, three out of four in the Eastern League, and eight of 13 in the American Basketball League, primarily with Jewish players. In 1946, Gottlieb helped establish the Basketball Association of America, winning the league's first championship, and was instrumental in merging the baa with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association in 1949. He coached the Philadelphia Warriors from 1947 to 1955, purchased the team in 1952, and led them to their first nba title in 1956.

After selling the team in 1962 for a then-record price of $850,000, Gottlieb remained with the Warriors as general manager when they became the San Francisco Warriors, and stayed with the team until 1964. He served as chairman of the nba Rules Committee for 25 years and was instrumental in the adoption of the 24-second clock, the rule against zone defenses, and the bonus penalty shot. For nearly 30 years he was the NBA's sole schedule maker. Gottlieb also helped organize overseas tours for the Harlem Globetrotters, and promoted professional doubleheaders. Upon his death, The New York Times wrote: "His mental powers were extraordinary and his memory almost faultless. He remembered the scores of games, the gate receipts, the attendance, and even the weather." The Eddie Gottlieb Trophy is awarded annually to the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Gottlieb was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]