A distinguished lawyer, Maurice Podoloff was a man of impeccable character and was instrumental in the development and success of professional basketball. On June 6, 1946, Podoloff, who was already serving as president of the American Hockey League, was appointed president of the newly formed Basketball Association of America (BAA), becoming the first person to simultaneously lead two professional leagues.
After the BAA signed several of the top names in the National Basketball League into the league, Maurice Podoloff negotiated a merger between the two groups to form the National Basketball Association in 1949. As a lawyer with no previous experience, Podoloff's great organizational and administrative skills were later regarded as the key factor that kept the league alive in its often stormy formative years.
In 17 years as president, Podoloff expanded the NBA to as many as 17 teams, and briefly formed three divisions and scheduled 557 games.
During his tenure Maurice introduced the collegiate draft in 1947, and in 1954 instituted the 24 second shot clock created by Dan Biasone, owner of the Syracuse Nationals which quickened the pace of games, and took the NBA from a slow plodding game to a fast paced sport. In 1954, Podoloff also increased national recognition of the game immensely by securing its first television contract.
Maurice Podoloff stepped down as NBA president in 1963, having increased fan interest during the NBA's formative years and having improved the overall welfare of the sport of basketball through his foresight, wisdom and leadership. In his honor, the NBA would name its annual league Most Valuable Player trophy the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
Allen Iverson Becomes NBA's Smallest Ever MVP: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Edges Out San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Laker's Shaquille O'Neal
May 23, 2001; Sacramento Observer 05-23-2001 Allen Iverson Becomes NBA's Smallest Ever MVP: Philadelphia 76ers GuardEdges Out San Antonio's Tim...