Sport: Basketball Inducted: 1980 Country: United States Born: September 15, 1898 in Kiev, Ukraine Died: December 7, 1979
Mogul" Gottlieb was a founder of the National Basketball
Association (NBA) and one of the innovative pioneers who
promoted and held together pro basketball during its long
and painful emerging decades. Gottlieb coached and managed
the Philadelphia Warriors from 1947 to 1955, piloting them
to the Basketball Association of America's (BAA) first
league championship in 1947. (The BAA, organized after World
War II, merged with the National Basketball League to become
the NBA in 1949.) The Warriors won their first NBA title
In 1952, Gottlieb purchased full ownership of the Warriors from his partners for $25,000 to save professional basketball for the city of Philadelphia. He sold the franchise to San Francisco in 1962.
Prior to the establishment of the NBA, Gottlieb was associated
with the legendary Philadelphia SPHAs (South Philadelphia
Hebrew Association), first as a player in 1917 and subsequently
as its coach and owner. Gottlieb and two friends had organized
the SPHAs shortly after high school graduation (see SPHAs
bio on pages 30-32). He led the SPHAs to 11 Eastern and American
League championships, including American Basketball League
titles in 1934, 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1945.
Many of pro basketball's existing rules can be attributed to
Gottlieb. From 1952, until his death in 1979, he was the official
schedule maker for the NBA. Gottlieb was inducted into the
Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.