Entries in Lester "Les" Harrison (1)


Lester "Les" Harrison

Enshrined 1980
Rochester, NY
August 20, 1904 - December 23, 1997


Lester Harrison was consumed by basketball since the early 1920s when he played at East High School in Rochester. As owner-coach of the Rochester Royals, he led the team to three National Basketball League Finals and won the 1946 title. By signing African-American Dolly King in 1946, Harrison played an important role in integrating professional basketball. Harrison's Royals played one season (1948-49) in the Basketball Association of America. In 1949 he spearheaded the NBL's merger with the BAA to form the NBA. Under Harrison's direction, the Royals won the 1951 NBA championship and five divisional titles. Harrison was on the board of directors of all three professional basketball leagues (NBL, BAA, NBA) and was a proponent of the 24-second time clock.

Career Highlights

Organized Rochester Seagrams, Ebers, and Pros, 1920s-1940s
NBA championship with Rochester Royals, 1951
Instrumental in formation of NBA, 1949
Organized Kodak Classic Collegiate Tournament (now Rochester Basketball Classic)