Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Harvey Pollack As the Winner of the 2002 John Bunn Award
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 18, 2002 - March 2, 1962 was one of the most memorable days in sporting history. It was the day Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in Hershey, PA.
It was also the busiest night in the long and storied history of Harvey Pollack.
That evening, Pollack, who was the Warriors' public relations director, also served as the head statistician and stringer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Associated Press and United Press International. It was Pollack who penciled the word "100" on a piece of paper and handed it to
Chamberlain to hold for photographers. The image has become a classic.
Since the inception of the NBA in 1946, Pollack's involvement in nearly all facets of the game have stationed him in prime position to witness, record, and recount a myriad of unforgettable moments in basketball history.
For his longtime contributions to the game of basketball, Pollack, who currently serves as the Director of Statistical Information for the Philadelphia 76ers, has been named recipient of the 30th annual John Bunn Award, presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of basketball.
The Bunn Award is the highest honor bestowed to an individual outside of actual Enshrinement. Pollack will receive his award on September 27, 2002 at the Hall of Fame's 43rd Enshrinement Ceremony. That evening, Earvin "Magic" Johnson headlines six new electees that include coaches Larry Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers, Lute Olson from Arizona, Kay Yow from North Carolina State, the first team enshrined since 1963, the Harlem Globetrotters and the late Croatian superstar Drazen Petrovic.
Pollack, a Northeast Philadelphia native and Temple University graduate, began his storied career in 1946 as assistant public relations director with the Philadelphia Warriors. Pollack would ultimately become director of public relations prior to the 1952-53 season and continued in that position until the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1962.
When Eddie Gottlieb purchased the Syracuse Nationals and relocated them to Philadelphia in 1963, he appointed Pollack as director of public relations for the Sixers. Over the next quarter century, Pollack would diligently perform many tasks, but nothing captivated him as much as tracking statistics.
In a league stocked with great stars such as the Sixers Wilt Chamberlain, Pollack fully understood the importance of accurately logging the players' feats. A true pioneer, Pollack introduced numerous new statistical categories (rebounds, blocked shots, et al) that today are considered
commonplace for the entire league.
In 1988, after an unprecedented stint of 43 years in public relations, Pollack finally decided to leave that position and assume the responsibility of Director of Statistical Information.
At 80, Pollack remains active. Each year he produces his Statistical Yearbook (an annual publication he started in 1968), a book many journalists, coaches, and basketball lifers consult for a wide variety of odd facts and trivial information.
The Bunn Award is named in the memory of John Bunn, the first chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee (1949-69). The award honors an international or national figure who has contributed greatly to the game of basketball.
The Hall of Fame opens the doors to its sparkling, new $103 million complex on September 28, the day after Enshrinement 2002.