Jewish NBA icon Harvey Pollack dies at 93
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Jewish NBA icon Harvey Pollack dies at 93

Basketball league’s last active member starting from 1st season was long-time PR and statistics director with the Philadelphia 76ers

A self-proclaimed 'one of a kind,' Harvey Pollack at 91, working courtside at a Philadelphia 76ers home game. (photo credit: Hillel Kuttler)
A self-proclaimed 'one of a kind,' Harvey Pollack at 91, working courtside at a Philadelphia 76ers home game. (photo credit: Hillel Kuttler)

Harvey Pollack, who reinvented the art of collecting NBA statistics from the very first season, died Tuesday at age 93.

The long-time statistics and media relations director with the Philadelphia 76ers and their predecessors the Philadelphia Warriors invented things that are now commonplace in NBA statistical fare, including the counting of blocked shots and technical fouls as well as keeping track of both offensive and defensive rebounds.

Pollack, who was the NBA’s last active member who was around when the league started, was also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and several others.

“There has never been an NBA without Harvey Pollack, who has been part of the NBA family since he was tracking statistics for the Philadelphia Warriors during the league’s inaugural season,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “He documented NBA history for nearly 70 years with passion, curiosity and a relentless work ethic.

“Harvey has been a true caretaker and ambassador of the game and he will be sorely missed. The entire NBA family sends its deepest condolences to the Pollack family as well as the Philadelphia 76ers organization.”

Pollack was an assistant publicity director for the Warriors in the inaugural 1946-47 season and became the team’s media relations director in 1952.

Pollack was the scorekeeper in Hershey, Pennsylvania on March 2, 1962, for Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA-record 100-point game for the Warriors. It was Pollack who wrote the “100 points” sign that Chamberlain famously held in a post-game photograph.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of a true NBA legend, Harvey Pollack,” said Philadelphia 76ers chief executive officer Scott O’Neil. “He may never have laced up his sneakers, but few have done more to advance the game, in the NBA or Philadelphia basketball, than Harvey. He did what he loved until the end. He will be missed while his legacy will endure.”

His statistical yearbooks, first published in 1968, became the definitive resource on NBA campaigns.

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