NEW YORK – Marty Blake, who worked in the NBA for more than 50 years and is regarded by many as the “Godfather of NBA Scouting,” passed away today, in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was 86.
Blake’s virtuosity in unearthing basketball talent from far-flung locations was legendary, and spanned generations. Long before words like “analytics” and “metrics” were part of the vocabulary of basketball talent evaluators, Blake was combing the country for basketball players and devising revolutionary ways to document and compare prospects. First as general manager of the Milwaukee (later St. Louis and Atlanta) Hawks and later for more than 35 years as the NBA’s Director of Scouting, Blake was a trailblazer who was equal parts basketball executive, clever promoter and ambassador for the sport.
“Marty began his lifetime of service to basketball at a time when the league was still in its infancy,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “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 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. Arrangements for services in the suburban Atlanta area are pending.