Sport: Basketball Inducted: 1989 Country: United States Born: August 18, 1890 in Elizabethgrad, Russia Died: 1985
Maurice Podoloff was the first commissioner of the National Basketball Association (1949 to 1963), president of the Basketball Association of America (1946 to 1949), president of the American Hockey League (1940 to 1952), and president of the Canadian-American Hockey League (CAHL) (1936 to 1940).
Under Podoloff's leadership the NBA developed the 24-second
clock, the innovation credited as the foundation for the
success of professional basketball in the United States.
In 1946, when the Basketball Association of America (BAA)
was being organized by a group of leading U.S. arena owners,
they elected Podoloff president of their new 11-team league.
Three years later, in August 1949, he presided over the merger
of the 4-year-old BAA with the 11-year-old National Basketball
League to form the NBA. The new NBA consisted of 10 BAA and
7 NBL teams during its first season (1949-50). The league
was pared to 11 teams for 1950-51.
Together with his father and two brothers, Podoloff built the New Haven Arena in 1926, an achievement that introduced him to the Canadian-American Hockey League (CAHL). In 1935, he was named secretary-treasurer of the League, and a year later was elected its president. Two years later, Podoloff merged his CAHL with the International Hockey League and, in 1940, the American Hockey League was born, with Maurice as its president.
Podoloff was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.