NBA scouting legend, Marty Blake, was truly a man ahead of his time as far as scouting for basketball talent was concerned. But considering that this man has been an integral part of the NBA since its early stages of infancy, that is saying a whole lot about someone regarded as the “Godfather of scouting.” He passed away this Sunday in suburban Atlanta. He was 86.
He became general manager of an NBA team at age 27 in 1954 and later on became the NBA’s Director of Scouting for more than 35 years.
NBA Commissioner David Stern had these kind words to say about Marty:
“Marty began his lifetime of service to basketball at a time when the league was still in its infancy. His work as a general manager and then as Director of Scouting for the NBA first helped the teams to understand the value of scouting. Marty’s dedication not just to the NBA but to basketball was extraordinary and we will forever be indebted to him.”
Blake had a hawk’s eye for basketball talent, able to find players in schools not known to produce such talent, and able to spot players’ greatness from other countries long before the NBA was ready for a foreign infusion of players. He truly blazed a trail as far as being able to assess players’ strengths and weaknesses were concerned. In 2005 he received the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It is the most prestigious award given by the Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, scouting has changed a lot since the heydays of Marty Blake. Today, basketball scouting is primarily based on huge basketball databases. databases are driving the basketball scouting, where analytics experts do data mining.
Thanks to Blake the NBA and the world will forever remember names such as Jack Sikma, Karl Malone, Joe Dumars, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman; among many, many more.