In today’s world of the Internet and video, if a guy can play we find out about him no matter what small college he attended. But there was a time that if you were Karl Malone at Louisiana Tech or Scottie Pippen from Central Arkansas you could get missed.
But Marty Blake, the NBA’s long time director of scouting, found those guys and many others and made sure teams knew. He discovered a lot of national and international talent.
Blake passed away Sunday in Atlanta at the age of 86.
“Marty began his lifetime of service to basketball at a time when the league was still in its infancy,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern in a statement. “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 was the general manager for the Milwaukee Hawks back in 1954 and followed that franchise to St. Louis then Atlanta. After leaving the role of GM he had a consulting service but was quickly snapped up as the league’s official director of scouting. In that role he started the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and the NBA Pre-draft Combine, both key talent evaluation settings that still go on today.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He retired a couple years ago.
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. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.