Maurice Podoloff

Enshrined 1974
Elizabethgrad, Russia
August 18, 1890 - November 24, 1985


A man of impeccable character, Maurice Podoloff was instrumental in the development and success of the NBA. On June 6, 1946, Podoloff was appointed commissioner of the newly formed Basketball Association of America. Podoloff, who was already serving as president of the American Hockey League, became the first person to simultaneously lead two professional leagues. In 1949, Podoloff negotiated a historic merger between the Basketball Association of American and the National Basketball League to form the NBA. As a lawyer with no previous experience, Podoloff's great organizational and administrative skills were later regarded as key to keeping the league alive in its often stormy, formative years. Basketball commissioner Podoloff was fair to all teams and owners, regardless of their power. He served from 1949 to 1963 and through his foresight, wisdom, and leadership advanced fan interest and improved the overall welfare of the NBA.

Career Highlights

Served as NBA's first commissioner, 1949-63
Negotiated NBA's first TV contract, 1954
Arranged for construction and use of the first 24-second clock, 1954
NBA's MVP Award is named in his honor