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Significant collection of 20+ letters, 19 signed by NBA founding father Eddie Gottlieb, pertaining to the relocation of the Philadelphia Warriors franchise to San Francisco. Few men have had more of an impact on the pro game than Eddie Gottlieb. In 1946, Gottlieb helped found the NBA, known then as the BAA. He served as the Philadelphia Warriors’ first head coach before eventually purchasing the franchise in 1951. In 1962 Gottlieb sold the team to San Francisco businessman Franklin Mieuli, a sale that enabled the NBA to expand to the far west coast. Nicknamed “The Mogul,” Gottlieb was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1972. Dating from 1962 to 1963, most of the letters are written on San Francisco Warriors stationery and are addressed to Gottlieb’s long-time assistant, Mike Ianarella, with whom Gottlieb remained in touch in order to oversee the final details of the Warriors’ cross-country transition. The letters, many in Gottlieb’s flowing script, include various references to Wilt Chamberlain, Tom Gola, and other NBA stars of the day. Of particular interest to Philadelphia basketball fans is the letter from 7/27/63 in which Gottlieb discusses the re-naming of the Syracuse Nationals franchise that was relocating to Philadelphia. Gottlieb advised that the club should not use a name such as the “Dolphins,” after Nationals coach Dolph Schayes, in lieu of a name better associated with the city’s history. NBA history tells us Gottlieb’s advice was heeded, as the Nationals were renamed the “76ers.” An historically important collection including multiple signatures of one of the NBA’s seminal figures.
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