Marty Blake, who worked in the National Basketball Association for more than 50 years and was known as the “Godfather of NBA Scouting,” died yesterday in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was 86.
Blake became a general manager for the Milwaukee Hawks in 1954 at the age of 27 and later spent 35 years as the NBA’s director of scouting. Long before analytics and metrics were used to evaluate basketball players, Blake devised innovative ways to compare prospects from around the U.S.
“His work first helped teams to understand the value of scouting,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Marty’s dedication not just to the NBA but to basketball was extraordinary and we will forever be indebted to him.”
Blake drafted players such as Pete Maravich and Lenny Wilkens, and brought relatively unknown players such as Scottie Pippen of Central Arkansas, John Stockton from Gonzaga and Joe Dumars from McNeese State to the attention of NBA teams, according to NBA.com. All are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Blake in 2005 received the John Bunn Award from the Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the sport. Outside of enshrinement, the award is the most prestigious honor presented by the Hall of Fame.
Blake is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Marcia Blake; his three adult children, Eliot Blake, Sarah Blake and Ryan Blake, and five grandchildren, according to the NBA. Funeral arrangements are pending.