Harvey Pollack

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Harvey Pollack

Postby rlee » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:22 am

The Spirit of the 76ers

By John Hareas,
NBA.com

One legendary Philadelphia institution is sadly closing its doors while another one is still thriving.

While the Sixers' fans are saying goodbye to the venerable Spectrum Friday night when Philadelphia hosts the Bulls, Harvey Pollack, the team's Director of Statistical information, will be at his familiar spot courtside tracking information much like he has done for the past 62 years.

Pollack, who celebrates his 87th birthday on March 9, first served as the assistant publicity director for the Philadelphia Warriors. He holds the distinct honor of being the only individual to work in the NBA in its inaugural season (1946-47) who is still employed by a team today.

The Sixers' position is just one of many for Pollack, who overseas the stat crew for the Philadelphia Wings of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League and recently completed his 63rd season as the lead statistician of Temple's basketball team, a responsibility he also holds for the school's football team. Pollack also writes a weekly syndicated entertainment column for a local newspaper.

Yet statistics is Pollack's claim to fame. That's what landed him a distinguished place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 as a John Bunn Award recipient. No one in the field of statistics has had a greater impact in the history of the game than Pollack. Pollack was keeping such statistics as minutes played, blocked shots, offensive and defensive rebounds, steals and turnovers long before the league made it part of the official boxscore.

Pollack's annual Statistical Yearbook was recently released and includes such gems as the game's best clutch player, the distance of every field goal, who leads the league in every dunk imaginable (i.e. alley-oops, driving dunks, put-back dunks) and which NBA players have the most tattoos.

Pollack spoke with NBA.com's John Hareas and discussed the nuances of his Yearbook, along with why Wilt Chamberlain was the greatest player he's ever seen (and the Big Dipper's critique of Michael Jordan), his all-time Starting Five and how he's about to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

NBA.com: What made you decide to publish your own Statistical Yearbook, now in its 15th year?

Harvey Pollack: In 1968, NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy made it a requirement that every team had to come out with a media guide. Up until 1968, there were very few media guides in the NBA and only the affluent teams put them out. The Sixers' book started in 1968. It was a miniature book, focused only on Sixers. As time went on, I started putting in NBA stuff.

In 1994, the Sixers media guide consisted of half of my NBA statistical information and half of Sixers' material. When the media guide surpassed 300 pages, the Sixers decided to make it two books -- the Sixers media guide and my Statistical Yearbook.

The first year my book was published was in 1994-95, and was 150 pages. This year's book is more than 300. I keep on adding new stuff every year.

NBA.com: What is the one stat in this year's Yearbook that might surprise the most people?

Harvey Pollack: The category that everyone seems to love is the tattoos of NBA players. When the game starts, me and other members of my stat team at the Sixers games check out the opposing players as they wipe their feet on the traction mat in front of the scorer's table to see how many tattoos they have. We do the same when the subs enter the game as well.

At halftime, since we're not sure that everybody is going to play, we go to the team's trainer and ask about the guys who haven't played and whether or not they have any tattoos and how many. The trainer will then tell us. This way, we don't miss anybody.

Another popular stat is top clutch players. Recently, I heard Skip Bayless on ESPN say that LeBron James wasn't a good clutch player. I called up ESPN and said, 'If he reads Harvey Pollack's Statistical Yearbook and looks up top clutch players in the NBA, he'll find that LeBron James is No. 1.'

Four-point plays -- no one keeps that stat and I've kept that from Day 1. When the three-point shot was introduced in the NBA in 1979-80, I have listed every four-point play since then -- the player, the opponent and date of the game. We update that stat every year.

Another popular category is dunks. I break down all of the different types of dunks -- alley-oops, driving dunks, reverse dunks, slam dunks, put-back dunks. In the Statistical Yearbook, we list the top players in each of the different categories of dunks.

Plus Minus Ratings are also very popular.

There are so many different categories. I'm over three hundred pages and I don't believe in white space. You'll never find any white space on any page. I fill the pages with little fillers, such as what guys played on an NCAA championship team and then the next year, played on an NBA championship team.

The book is a mixture of trivia and facts and most of the trivia is used to fill the bottom of each page so I won't have white space.

NBA.com: You've been with the NBA since day 1, 1946-47. Who is the greatest player you ever saw?

Harvey Pollack: Wilt Chamberlain is without a doubt the greatest and the NBA record book proves it. Wilt holds records for a minimum of 130 different categories.

People forget who he is because fans today never saw him play. For instance, a triple-double-double -- there isn't anybody since Wilt did this in 1968 that has come close to getting 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game. No one has come close to Wilt's mark of 55 rebounds in a game. The closest someone got to Wilt's 100-point game was Kobe Bryant, who hit for 81.

Plus, name me a center who has led the league in assists like Wilt did in 1967-68? No one. Also, Wilt played every minute of every game in the 1961-62 season, including overtime, except one because he was thrown out of the game with three personal fouls.

That game was held in Los Angeles and Norm Drucker was the referee and he threw Wilt out with three technicals. The Lakers won the game by a point. I was always curious why Wilt didn't play those seven minutes, which he would have played every minute of that '61-62 season, including overtimes. So, sometime in the '80s, I looked it up and said, 'Wait a minute, that's illegal.' So I wrote a letter to David Stern and told him, 'I know you're interested in justice. When Wilt Chamberlain was thrown out of the game in 1962, three technicals were called and the Lakers made all three foul shots. You're already set a precedent in this category.'

The Commissioner wrote back and said great idea, we'll re-play the last seven minutes of the game, either before the All-Star Game or before the playoffs. All you have to do is get the players.

So, the first guy I called up was Wilt. Now remember, this is sometime in the mid-'80s, I said to him, 'As old as you are, you can still get up and down the court for seven minutes.' He said, 'Harvey, do you really want me to do this? If you do, then I will.'

Then I went around and I got everybody -- Paul Arizin, Tom Gola -- I got most of the guys but then some I couldn't find like Tom Meschery.

Then I called Jerry West and he said, 'Is Wilt going to play?' I said yes, then he said, then I'll play.

I called him about a week later and Jerry said he talked to three, four guys who said they would play. But I never finished my mission in getting everyone. I was the PR director of the Sixers at the time. But had I gotten everyone together for the last seven minutes, I would have made the Hall of Fame a lot sooner than 2002 [laughs].

A similar instance happened years later. In 1984, the Nets were playing the Sixers in Philadelphia and the officials called three technicals on Bernard King and head coach Kevin Loughery. The Nets protested because the rules state that the referees can only call two technicals on anybody and the other penalties have to come from the league.

So, they had to play the last seven minutes of that game before the next time both teams played again.

Incidentally, when they re-played the game from November to March, the two teams made a trade, so there were three guys on the Nets who were now on Philly and three guys on Philly who were on the Nets from when the first game was played. It was the only game in NBA history in which players were listed on both sides of an official box score. It's never happened since.

NBA.com: You were close to Wilt after he retired. How often would you talk to him?

Harvey Pollack: All the time. Wilt was big on stats. One time he called me up and said, 'You know, Harvey, Michael Jordan can't hit a shot beyond 15 feet?'

I said, 'How do you know that?'

He said to me, 'Don't you watch the games?'

I said, 'I don't watch stuff like that. How do you know?'

He said, 'I watch it.'

So, during the height of Michael's career, I got the play-by-play of the first 20 Bulls games and I checked the distance of every shot Jordan took during the season and sure enough, he was shooting under 40 percent from 15 feet back.

Then Wilt said, 'Jordan doesn't take any shots from seven feet in, all of those shots are drives to the basket. He doesn't take five or six footers. He goes right to the hoop.'

I tried 20 more games and ended up looking at the entire season and got the same results. Wilt's analysis held up.

Wilt was a student of the game. People don't know that. He knew everything that was going on.

Another season, Wilt said that the refs never called any traveling violations on Jordan. Wilt was after Jordan for some reason. I checked the play by plays and Wilt was right. Jordan was called only for four traveling violations.

Whenever Wilt came out with a book, he always credited me with the stats. I'm referenced throughout his books.

NBA.com: The day of Wilt's 100-point game, did you have any idea he might set the single-game scoring record that night in Hersey, Pa.?

Harvey Pollack: I should have known Wilt was in for a special night. The owner, Eddie Gottlieb, always brought the team up early for road games. This game was in Hershey and they took the bus up and they left early in case there was a traffic jam or something.

The team arrived a few hours before game time so the team went to the arcade to play some games. Wilt was challenging everybody, shooting down clay pigeons, racking up the pinball machines. I should have known big things were about to happen.

As the game progressed, I had no idea when Wilt's scoring was going to end. When Wilt was at the 60-point mark, I told Dave Zinkoff, the PA announcer, 'Why don't you call every point and field goal he makes from this point in. So, every basket Wilt scored, Zink would boom into the microphone, 'That's 63 for Wilt! That's 65!' as only Zink can deliver.

When Wilt was in the 90s, Hershey Arena was at a fever pitch, thanks to Zink. By the way, I had to tell Zink about every basket during the game because Zink was no student of the game. He was lucky if he could tell the difference between Bill Russell and John Havlicek on the floor. He had trouble identifying players. So, I always sat beside him. He would always ask me, 'Harvey, who did that, who did that?'

When Zink announced 100 points, everyone flew out of the stands. They couldn't contain their excitement. They all gathered around Wilt.

When the game started, there wasn't one photographer in the building. It was a meaningless regular-season game between the Knicks and the Sixers late in the season (March 2). Even the normal contingent of New York writers was depleted. Not everyone made the trip . Neither team could make any ground in the standings as a result of this game.

At halftime, word spread of Wilt's night and the photographers showed up after hearing Bill Campbell's radio broadcast of the game. So, when the second half got under way, there were a lot of photographers at Hershey Arena.

First thing I did after the game was make the boxscore up. Then I went into the dressing room to see what was going on and the photographers were standing around. I said, 'What's the matter? Don't you guys want to take pictures of Wilt? The photographers said, 'Well, we just took pictures of him but nothing sensational.'

I said, 'Wait a minute, what happened here tonight?' They said, 'Wilt scored 100 points.' I said, 'Why don't you have something showing 100 on it and have him hold it.'

They said, 'What do you suggest?'

One of the photographers had a white pad of paper. So I grab the pen that was being used by the players who were signing the ball for Wilt and wrote '100' on the sheet of paper. The photographers then asked me, Will Wilt do that?'

I said, 'Don't worry about Wilt. He'll do it if I ask him.'

Sure enough, The Associated Press photographer took the picture of Wilt holding the sheet of paper with '100' on it and shortly after it was transmitted all over the world. That picture is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

That particular night, I was covering the game for the AP, UP and thePhiladelphia Inquirer, so I was the one who let the world know about Wilt's game. I had to go to the phone and call the AP and the UP first. During the game, I was sending an X copy, which is a detailed play-by-play of the game, to the Inquirer.

Then I had to write a completely new story that appeared on page 1 of the Inquirer. The byline didn't read Harvey Pollack. It read, Special to the Inquirer, but everyone knows that I wrote it.

The night Wilt scored 100 points was by far the busiest night of my 62 years in the NBA.

NBA.com: Who is your NBA All-Time Starting Five?

Harvey Pollack: Point Guard: Oscar Robertson --- Averaged a triple double for one season -- 1961-62 -- and the first five years of his career. No one is even close.

Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan -- Obviously, he was such a great scorer.

Small Forward: Julius Erving. This was a difficult choice but I'm picking Julius over Larry Bird. Julius was such a spectacular player, elevated the Sixers franchise and was such a dominant player in the ABA.

Power Forward: Elgin Baylor: Too few know how great of a player Elgin was. He was a beast on the boards and a heavy scorer throughout his career. It was a shame he retired before the 1971-72 Lakers team won the NBA title.

Center: Wilt Chamberlain. There isn't any doubt how he dominated the game. I got a kick how Elliott Kalb wrote in his book that Shaquille O'Neal was the greatest player of all time. I told Elliott, 'I don't believe you wrote this nonsense.'

Head Coach: Red Auerbach. You have to give it to Red due to winning eight titles in succession. Even though he had talented players -- 15 guys that went to the Hall of Fame -- he still had to coach them and still had to keep their interest up to win each year. There are some great coaches in NBA history but no one did what Auerbach did.

Sixth Man: John Havlicek: The best sixth man I ever saw. Before he became a starter, he sparked the Celtics and everyone was wondering why Auerbach kept him on the bench. But the Celtics had so many great players and he had to wait his turn to start.

NBA.com: You've won four rings with the Warriors and Sixers. Which one is the most meaningful?

Harvey Pollack: I have a ring from the very first year of the NBA when the Warriors defeated the Chicago Stags and a ring from the 1955-56 season when the Warriors defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Finals. Then I have one when the Sixers defeated the Warriors in the 1967 Finals and then 1983 when the Sixers swept the Lakers.

My most memorable ring has to be '83 when the Sixers swept the Lakers. That was unbelievable we did that. Moses [Malone] almost predicted it before the playoffs when he said, 'Fo, Fo, Fo." The Sixers lost one game that postseason to the Bucks on the road.

When I go out to speak, I wear these four rings and these rings indicate the progress of the NBA. The first ring was a little gold ring with a diamond that you needed a magnifying glass to identify the diamond. The league didn't have any money back then. Then in 1955-56, the ring got a little bigger. It was still a little gold ring with a round basketball near the diamond. Then in '66-67, Irv Kosloff owned the team and he said, 'Wait a minute, let's make a real ring.' The ring had a ruby, big diamonds in the middle, your name on the side plus the team record. Then in 1983, the Sixers' owner, Harold Katz, made the ring bigger with a bigger ruby and had Moses Malone's prediction inscribed on the side -- 'Fo, Fo, Fo.'

NBA.com: The Guinness Book of World Records has tracked the number of consecutive days that you've worn a different T-shirt. You started your streak in June 2003. What number are you up to?

Harvey Pollack: I'm up to 2,089. I contacted the Guinness Book of World Records and asked them, 'What is the record for consecutive T-shirts worn? They said, no one ever did that. I said, 'So, you mean, when I wore the second T-shirt, I broke my own the record?' [Laughs]

So, for almost six years, I've been breaking my own record every day. When I reach 2,130, which I have enough shirts to reach that mark, which will be sometime in April, I will break Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games. I'm going to get a T-shirt made that reads, 'I broke Lou Gehrig's record.'

NBA.com: At 87, you still maintain a challenging work schedule. What keeps you so driven?

Harvey Pollack: I love it. I enjoy every game. It's a new experience. You get new faces every year plus you never know what's going to happen, new situations always arise.

I also keep stats for indoor lacrosse here in Philadelphia. I've kept stats for every lacrosse home game since 1971. I also did the Colts for 15 years when Johnny Unitas was there until Bob Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis.

My stat team has been doing Temple football and basketball since 1945. I just finished the season on Thursday, completing my 63rd year in that job.

When I was in high school, I thought I would retire at the age of 55 and sit in a rocking chair in my living room. Well, I still haven't found that rocking chair at 87.

To order the 2008-09 Harvey Pollack Statistical Yearbook, please send a check for $15 to:
Wachovia Center
3601 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Attn: Harvey Pollack
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THE GREATEST STAT BOOK YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

Postby rlee » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:25 am

THE GREATEST STAT BOOK YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

By John Hareas, NBA.com

The recent Kevin Love 30-30 game elicited a chuckle from Harvey Pollack. It wasn’t a mocking response to Love’s rare accomplishment but rather it was a source of amusement for the 88-year-old Pollack.

Love’s feat prompted Pollack to dig and the result was a gem of an NBA statistical nugget involving the game’s most dominant offensive force.

“I researched and found that in the history of the league there have been 131 30-30 performances including the one by Kevin Love,” said Pollack, the Sixers’ Director of Statistical Information who is better known around NBA circles as ‘SuperStat.’

“Out of that 131 total, Wilt Chamberlain did it 103 times. So that means every player in the history of the league – combined – did it 28 times.”

When it comes to the NBA, there isn’t much that Pollack doesn’t know, a man who has drawn an NBA paycheck for his livelihood dating back to his PR Director days with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1946.

Pollack, who recently started his 65th season in the league, recently published the 2010-11 Harvey Pollack Statistical Yearbook – a must for any NBA fan or stat geek.

It’s the greatest stat book you’ve never heard of and that’s because you can’t buy it via Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This ultimate underground tome can only be purchased from Harvey himself for $15 at the Sixers’ offices (Wells Fargo Center, 3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19148) and he receives book orders from all over the world.

NBA.com caught up with Pollack who reflected on highlights of this year’s edition, what Pat Riley contributed, Shaq and Kobe stories and finally saying goodbye to the Spectrum.


NBA.com: The Kevin Love 30-30 game recently prompted you do some digging in terms of all time 30-30 games.

Harvey Pollack: I researched and found that in the history of the league there have been 131 30-30 performances including the one by Kevin Love and it hadn’t been done since Moses Malone in 1982.

Out of that 131 total, Wilt Chamberlain did it 103 times. So that means every player in the history of the league – combined -- did it 28 times and only one other player did it more than twice and that was Nate Thurmond, who did it four times. There were about three or four players that did it twice and the rest were just once and a lot of notable players who never did it at all.

I also checked the rebounding leaders every year. Remember, there weren’t any rebounds kept during the first four years of the league, so, there are only 60 rebounding champions. I checked the rebounding winners each season and how many times they accomplished a 30-30 and it was either one or zero.

That’s another crowning achievement of Wilt’s career that nobody even mentions today because most of the writers today weren’t covering NBA basketball when Wilt was playing and he hasn’t played since 1973.

I always check history whenever a record is tied or broken. It was a surprise to me that Wilt did it so many times. The season in which Wilt scored 100 points – 1961-62 -- he actually did a 30-30 31 times. Gives you an idea of how far ahead he was against all of the players he was with.

NBA.com: The 30-30 accomplishment seems like a natural addition to the Harvey Pollack Stat Book.

Harvey Pollack: Absolutely, it will be a notable addition. In next year’s book, I will have a complete 30-30 list. Then the list will show how many times each one of these players won a rebounding title and the players who never did it and how many rebounding titles they won. For example, Dennis Rodman won 7 rebounding titles but he never accomplished a 30-30.

NBA.com: How much bigger is this year’s book versus last year’s edition?

Harvey Pollack: We’re up to 334 pages for this season’s version. Usually, the page count goes up about 10 pages each year.

The first book that I put out – it wasn’t the Harvey Pollack book. It was 1968 and Commissioner Walter Kennedy made it mandatory that every team publish a media guide, not just for the affluent owners or teams, who would publish one.

In the formation of the league, the only income the owners – Eddie Gottlieb, Ben Kerner, Danny Biasone – their only income was from basketball, not like today’s owners, who are millionaires or billionaires off of other enterprises outside the game.

In those days, the owners weren’t going to spend the money to put out the media guides until Kennedy made it mandatory.

The first book I published was in 1966-67 season when the Sixers won the title. We actually put it out during the middle of the season. It was only 24 pages and it had Schmidt’s beer as an advertiser on every one of the pages since they paid for the cost of it. Then the following year they did it again and we increased the total of pages to 36. The next year the NBA said that media guides were mandatory.

The Sixers owners’ Irv Kosloff said we’re doing away with Schmidt’s beer, we’re putting it out without any ads in the book. The book went up from 36 to 96 pages and it’s been rising ever since. Then in 1994, the Sixer and NBA totals got too big for binding, that’s when they broke the books down into two separate versions: The Sixers media guide and the Harvey Pollack book.

NBA.com: What are some of the new categories you added for this year’s version?

Harvey Pollack: We have the NBA’s all time left-handed players, relatives – fathers-sons -- who played in the league and all kind of relatives, cousins, second cousins, nephews, grandfathers/grandsons, grandfathers who have grandsons. Plus we have the best Crunch Time players from last season, player evaluations by different experts and the distance of every field goal made.

Actually, my goal is to have the distance of every field goal attempted taken during the season. When Larry Brown was the coach of the Sixers, I used to do that for the opposing team in the playoffs.


It’s going to take a lot of work but I would love to do it.

We also break down all of the dunks the players make – alley oop, reverse, slam, put back, running.

We scour every play-by-play sheet for every game of the entire season – 1,230.

NBA.com: In addition to yourself, how many people assist you in compiling the statistics?

Harvey Pollack: Well, during the course of a year, I have interns in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Last year, I had approximately 22 who contributed something to the book. In the summer, I had nine interns from all parts of the country and they brought their own laptops in and we were able to finish the book two months earlier.

NBA.com: With the NBA being a global game, you must receive orders from all over the world?

Harvey Pollack: Oh, yeah. I just received an order for the third year in a row from a book store in Estonia. One of his customers always comes in and asks for the Harvey Pollack Stat book. We’ve sold this in Japan, England, France, Mexico and Canada.

It’s known around the world, not just here in the United States.

NBA.com: We’re witnessing historically significant players in guys such as Shaq and Kobe who are climbing up the milestones chart. Do you think Shaq will join Kareem, Mailman, MJ and Wilt to become the fifth player ever to reach the 30,000 point club?

Harvey Pollack: Well, Shaq is starting and playing minutes, about 23 per game and he’s less than 1,600 points away from 30,000. At age 38, he’s the oldest player in the league. I’m not sure if he wants to surpass Kareem who played until he was 41 but you never know.

Shaq is one of my biggest fans. I gave him my first book back in ’95. I would always have Shaq sign stuff for people who give me shirts, hats or other stuff. Now, when Shaq sees me, the first thing he says is, “Where’s my book?” and I say “I didn’t ask you for any signings yet. He says, “You will.”

Dean Oliver of the Trail Blazers was in town just the other day and asked me, “Hey, Harv, where’s my book. I’m lost without it.” So, I have to mail him one.

Another quick Shaq story: When Shaq visited Philadelphia a couple of years ago when he was with the Phoenix Suns, there was a story in the paper about the largest shoes in league history and how Bob Lanier’s had the biggest size at 22.

So, I asked around and said who else could have that size and someone said, “How about Shaq?” So I called down to Miami and they said he takes a size 23 and I then I said, “He’s bigger than Lanier. I want to include this fact in my book.”

So when Shaq visited that season, I asked him if he took a size 23 and he said, “Who told you that?” I said the Miami Heat. He said, “What do they know?”

He said he didn’t take a size 23 but a size 22, so he tied Lanier for the biggest sneaker in the history of the league and I forgot to put it in this year’s book but I will add it for next year though.

NBA.com: Outside of yourself and interns, you have coaches around the league who contribute.

Harvey Pollack: Rick Carlisle contributed to the book. As soon as Dallas visits Philadelphia, I’ll give him a copy of book. Del Harris has contributed so has Pat Riley.

I welcome suggestions every year from anybody. I’m always looking for new categories.

NBA.com: What did Pat Riley contribute?

Harvey Pollack: Pat Riley wanted field goal percentages broken down among two and three point field goals opposed to the way they are currently kept, which is combined. He asked me about this when Miami visited and I told him how about if I take the top three-point shooters and take away their three-point field goals made and attempted and tabulate their two-point attempts. He said that was a good idea.

I think we’re up to 150 players now. Charles Barkley was league leader many times if you just kept the two-point field goal percentage.

NBA.com: You know Kobe Bryant well from his father playing with the Sixers. Kobe is in position to leap frog past some of the all-time scoring greats and finish behind Shaq at No. 6 in all time scoring by the end of the season.

Harvey Pollack: Kobe keeps in excellent shape and he is a real threat to catch Abdul-Jabbar as the all time leader (38,387). Kobe also had a head start entering the league at a young age, 18, but is a terrific talent.

Kobe is another player who always asks me for a copy of my book when the Lakers visit.

I once gave Kobe something to sign and he told me he couldn’t sign it because it was a Converse shirt and he has a contract with Nike. So, that night, he told me to see him after the game.

When I entered the locker room after the game, he was holding court with the media. As you can imagine, it was quite a scene with the print and broadcast reporters. Kobe saw me enter the room and he told the media to wait a couple of minutes because he had to do something. Then he yelled out for the trainer who grabbed the pair of shoes Kobe wore that night. Kobe then signed the shoes before handing them to me. He wears a different pair of shoes every game.

Those shoes are a collector’s item. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them. I probably will give them to my kids.

NBA.com: You attended the demolition ceremony at the Spectrum last week along with Julius Erving. What are some memories that stand out?

Harvey Pollack: Actually, I was there for the groundbreaking of the Spectrum, 1967-68.

The memories that really stand out are the games between the Sixers and Boston. I don’t think there’s ever been a rivalry that intense between two teams because each team had a superstar – Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Every game was sensational whether the games were played in Philadelphia or Boston, playoffs or regular season. They were always sold out. One of those games is when Wilt got the 55 rebounds against Russell, which is still the league record.

When Wilt retired, he held 128 different records in the NBA Guide, now it’s down to 97. Remember, it’s still 97 records for a man who hasn’t played in 37 years. So, his feats have stood the test of time. Just like the 30-30, no one came close to Wilt. He’s done it 103 times.

Julius made the longest speech at the Spectrum demolition when he was there but he brought back instances and people the crowd all knew. His speech was the best but it was also the longest. It was a little chilly out there that day.

I’ve outlasted a lot of buildings. I outlasted the Philadelphia Arena where the Warriors started, the Philadelphia Convention Hall, Veterans Stadium is down. The place the Sixers played in Camden is down. They played in high schools. All of the baseball stadiums – the Baker Bowl -- where the Phillies played and Connie Mack Stadium, where the A’s played. I was always there. Yellow Jacket Stadium where they used to have auto racing.

I’ve outlasted a lot of sporting venues. I’ve seen a lot of wrecking balls come through here.
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Re: Harvey Pollack

Postby MCT » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:06 pm

From the first post in this thread:

Harvey Pollack: In 1968, NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy made it a requirement that every team had to come out with a media guide. Up until 1968, there were very few media guides in the NBA and only the affluent teams put them out. The Sixers' book started in 1968. It was a miniature book, focused only on Sixers. As time went on, I started putting in NBA stuff.

In 1994, the Sixers media guide consisted of half of my NBA statistical information and half of Sixers' material. When the media guide surpassed 300 pages, the Sixers decided to make it two books -- the Sixers media guide and my Statistical Yearbook.

The first year my book was published was in 1994-95, and was 150 pages. This year's book is more than 300. I keep on adding new stuff every year.

The part about media guides being mandated by the NBA in 1968 is very interesting -- I didn't know that. Pollack speaks a bit more about the origins of the Sixers' media guide in the second post in this thread:

The first book that I put out – it wasn’t the Harvey Pollack book. It was 1968 and Commissioner Walter Kennedy made it mandatory that every team publish a media guide, not just for the affluent owners or teams, who would publish one.

In the formation of the league, the only income the owners – Eddie Gottlieb, Ben Kerner, Danny Biasone – their only income was from basketball, not like today’s owners, who are millionaires or billionaires off of other enterprises outside the game.

In those days, the owners weren’t going to spend the money to put out the media guides until Kennedy made it mandatory.

The first book I published was in 1966-67 season when the Sixers won the title. We actually put it out during the middle of the season. It was only 24 pages and it had Schmidt’s beer as an advertiser on every one of the pages since they paid for the cost of it. Then the following year they did it again and we increased the total of pages to 36. The next year the NBA said that media guides were mandatory.

The Sixers owners’ Irv Kosloff said we’re doing away with Schmidt’s beer, we’re putting it out without any ads in the book. The book went up from 36 to 96 pages and it’s been rising ever since.

Although Pollack twice states that the 76ers' first media guide was in 1968, in another place he mentions that the team did "books" for two seasons before the NBA mandated media guides (1966-67 and 1967-68). I would surmise that he considers the 1966-67 and 1967-68 publications to be sufficiently bare-bones to not count as "real" media guides in the modern sense.

...Wilt played every minute of every game in the 1961-62 season, including overtime, except one because he was thrown out of the game with three personal fouls.

That game was held in Los Angeles and Norm Drucker was the referee and he threw Wilt out with three technicals. The Lakers won the game by a point. I was always curious why Wilt didn't play those seven minutes, which he would have played every minute of that '61-62 season, including overtimes. So, sometime in the '80s, I looked it up and said, 'Wait a minute, that's illegal.' So I wrote a letter to David Stern and told him, 'I know you're interested in justice. When Wilt Chamberlain was thrown out of the game in 1962, three technicals were called and the Lakers made all three foul shots. You're already set a precedent in this category.'

.....

A similar instance happened years later. In 1984, the Nets were playing the Sixers in Philadelphia and the officials called three technicals on Bernard King and head coach Kevin Loughery. The Nets protested because the rules state that the referees can only call two technicals on anybody and the other penalties have to come from the league.

So, they had to play the last seven minutes of that game before the next time both teams played again.

Incidentally, when they re-played the game from November to March, the two teams made a trade, so there were three guys on the Nets who were now on Philly and three guys on Philly who were on the Nets from when the first game was played. It was the only game in NBA history in which players were listed on both sides of an official box score. It's never happened since.

When Pollack told the story of Wilt having three technicals called on him, the first thing I thought of was that infamous Nets-Sixers game. Pollack is off on a few details of the latter game, though:

--The game happened in 1979, not 1984.

--Although Bernard King was involved in the incident that led to the game being protested, I don't think the refs actually called three technicals on him, only on Kevin Loughery.

--The trade between the two teams swapped two players in each direction, not three. Of the four players who were traded, three appeared in the game for both teams (Harvey Catchings, Ralph Simpson and Eric Money). More discussion of this game can be found in the thread below:

http://www.apbr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2578
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Postby Bob Kuska » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:50 pm

MCT - Sometimes when people do interviews, they talk off the cuff. Although the year of Kennedy's media guide edict very well could be correct, the explanation is, well, a little too off the cuff. It's not the 87-year-old Pollack's fault. The NBA.com reporter should have done some fact checking.

By the 1967-1968 season, Gottlieb and Biasone already had sold their teams, and Kerner had the St. Louis Hawks up for sale. The millionaire owners were largely in place and pushing to transform the NBA's "Third League" image. Jack Kent Cooke would complete The Forum in late December 1967. The new $116 million Madison Square Garden opened its doors that season. Expansion Seattle and San Diego arrived in the NBA with brand-new modern arenas. And, in Pollack's Philadelphia, The Spectrum threw open its doors in October 1967. True, the impetus for The Forum and The Spectrum was hockey. Cooke and his counterparts in Philly wanted NHL expansion teams (Kings and Flyers). But, the Lakers and 76ers definitely were written into the business plans for both buildings.

My guess is Kennedy was merely following orders, maybe from the marketing mogul Cooke, in asking teams to issue an annual press guide. Remember, Kennedy had no real organizational power. He acted at the owners' behest. There's a great story about Cooke attending NBA Board of Governors meetings during this era and pushing hard for the NBA to computerize its schedule making. Eddie Gottlieb was now the league scheduler. His brain was an absolute sponge for the scheduling quirks in every NBA city, and no computer could be programmed to replicate his wisdom. In the end, the league stuck with Gottlieb, and Cooke held up this decision as yet another example of the NBA's organizational backwardness.
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Re: Harvey Pollack

Postby petroslav » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:15 pm

MCT wrote:From the first post in this thread:

Harvey Pollack: In 1968, NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy made it a requirement that every team had to come out with a media guide. Up until 1968, there were very few media guides in the NBA and only the affluent teams put them out. The Sixers' book started in 1968. It was a miniature book, focused only on Sixers. As time went on, I started putting in NBA stuff.

In 1994, the Sixers media guide consisted of half of my NBA statistical information and half of Sixers' material. When the media guide surpassed 300 pages, the Sixers decided to make it two books -- the Sixers media guide and my Statistical Yearbook.

The first year my book was published was in 1994-95, and was 150 pages. This year's book is more than 300. I keep on adding new stuff every year.

The part about media guides being mandated by the NBA in 1968 is very interesting -- I didn't know that. Pollack speaks a bit more about the origins of the Sixers' media guide in the second post in this thread:

The first book that I put out – it wasn’t the Harvey Pollack book. It was 1968 and Commissioner Walter Kennedy made it mandatory that every team publish a media guide, not just for the affluent owners or teams, who would publish one.

In the formation of the league, the only income the owners – Eddie Gottlieb, Ben Kerner, Danny Biasone – their only income was from basketball, not like today’s owners, who are millionaires or billionaires off of other enterprises outside the game.

In those days, the owners weren’t going to spend the money to put out the media guides until Kennedy made it mandatory.

The first book I published was in 1966-67 season when the Sixers won the title. We actually put it out during the middle of the season. It was only 24 pages and it had Schmidt’s beer as an advertiser on every one of the pages since they paid for the cost of it. Then the following year they did it again and we increased the total of pages to 36. The next year the NBA said that media guides were mandatory.

The Sixers owners’ Irv Kosloff said we’re doing away with Schmidt’s beer, we’re putting it out without any ads in the book. The book went up from 36 to 96 pages and it’s been rising ever since.

Although Pollack twice states that the 76ers' first media guide was in 1968, in another place he mentions that the team did "books" for two seasons before the NBA mandated media guides (1966-67 and 1967-68). I would surmise that he considers the 1966-67 and 1967-68 publications to be sufficiently bare-bones to not count as "real" media guides in the modern sense.


The 76ers' first media guide was in 1963-64 (the one with Schmidt's ads Pollack was talking about). And I believe all teams regularly published media guides much before 1968.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1963-64-NBA-BAS ... 461109fe06
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Re: Harvey Pollack

Postby rlee » Fri May 16, 2014 5:10 pm

NBA Playoffs, Replay, SVG, Nerlens Noel, Elgin Baylor, PJ Hairston, Harvey Pollack, Cavs: http://basketballintelligence.wordpress ... lack-cavs/
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