Edward S. "Ned" Irish
Originally a sportswriter for the New York World Telegram, Ned Irish became known as "The Boy Promoter" by bringing college basketball to Madison Square Garden. On December 29, 1934, 16,188 spectators watched the first intersectional doubleheader when NYU defeated Notre Dame and Westminster College (PA) edged St. John's. Irish brought the nation's top teams to Manhattan, and through his aggressive promoting and determined leadership, more than 500,000 fans flocked to the Garden per season from 1942 to 1949. A man of strong integrity and honesty, Irish helped create the first major postseason college tournament, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and later organized the Basketball Association of America (BAA), forerunner of today's NBA. He founded the New York Knickerbockers, one of the league's original teams, earning the nickname, "The Father of Big-Time Basketball."