A UCLA All-America in 1929, Sam Balter was a member of the United States gold medal basketball team in 1936. He was the only Jewish-American to win a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970, he is also honored by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Hall of Fame.
The year 1936 marked the entry of basketball as an Olympic sport, and the 58 Balter was one of five University of California at Los Angeles players on the national champion Universal Pictures AAU team selected to representthe United States. Balter averaged 8.5 points in the four games that led to the Olympic gold medal.
Following the Olympics, Balter became a sportscaster, and
in 1938, he broadcast the first U.S. coast-to-coast radio
sports commentary on the Mutual Network. He would go on
to become the premier sports broadcaster on America's West
From 1945 to 1952, Balter was the "voice of the UCLA Bruins"
football and basketball radiocasts. He did play-by-play
Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels (Pacific Coast League)
baseball teams and was the radio voice of the Los Angeles
Stars of the American Basketball Association. In 1942,
he broadcast baseball play-by-play for the Cincinnati Reds.
For 18 years, Balter hosted the popular "One for the Book"
feature sports commentary on the Mutual Network. From 1946
he was sports director of L.A.'s KLAC radio. And,
from 1955 to 1964, he was a sports columnist for the Los
Sam Balter is the recipient of numerous professional honors,
among them the Southern California Broadcasters Hall of
Fame, UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame, Top Sportscaster of the
Year award presented by the Los Angeles Times, and Nation's
Number 1 Sportscaster designation by Variety in 1953.