Harvey Pollack, the only person who has been active in the NBA since its inception in 1946, is credited with creating many of the statistical categories now integral to professional basketball like minutes played, rebounds, steals, turnovers and blocked shots.
An editor or sports editor at several Temple University publications, he received a bachelor’s in journalism in 1943.
In publishing, Pollack worked at the Evening Bulletin, the Appliance and Furniture Dealer, TV Digest, TV Guide, Curtis Publishing Company’s TV Program Weck, International News Service, United Press International, Associated Press and newspapers across the country.
Pollack’s life with the NBA started in 1946 as assistant public relations director of the Philadelphia Warriors. He was promoted to director in 1952. Meanwhile, TV Program Weck folded and he joined the Philadelphia Department of Recreation as its special events coordinator.
The Warriors moved to San Francisco in 1962, but Pollack remained in Philadelphia, where he worked for the NBA in various capacities until the 76ers were formed in 1963. He worked part time in public relations for the 76ers until joining them full time in 1980. In 1987, he became the director of basketball statistics, a post he still holds today.
He is the only statistician in any basketball-related hall of fame, including the Big Five, Temple Athletic, Jewish, American Legion and others.
Pollack has been the Temple football and basketball statistician since 1945.
On the entertainment side, he has authored a column titled “After Dark” in various weeklies since 1947 covering theater, movies, concerts, casinos and restaurants. Highlights of his career include a 45-minute solo interview with Frank Sinatra at the Latin.
Pollack is also en route to a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for wearing a different I-shirt every day, starting June 29, 2003. He recently passed the 2,600 mark, but Guinness won’t recognize the record until it is over, which won’t come for a while, as he has a stockpile of more than 600 unworn shirts.