J. Walter Kennedy

James Walter Kennedy (June 8, 1912 – June 26, 1977) was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1963 until 1975. He is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Walter J. Kennedy.

J. Walter Kennedy
2nd Commissioner of the NBA
In office
1963 – June 1975
Preceded byMaurice Podoloff
Succeeded byLarry O'Brien
Mayor of Stamford, Connecticut
In office
Preceded byConrad J. Engelke
Succeeded byWilliam F. Hickey
Personal details
James Walter Kennedy

June 8, 1912
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedJune 26, 1977 (aged 65)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Resting placeSt. Michaels Cemetery, Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Spouse(s)Marion McRedmond
ChildrenDavid, 2 others
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
Sports administrator


Early life

James Walter Kennedy was born in Stamford, Connecticut to Lottie and Michael Kennedy. He was stricken with polio early in life, which left him with a disability and therefore unable to compete in sports. Nonetheless, he was an avid fan and his entire life and career were devoted to sports, reaching a pinnacle as the NBA commissioner in 1963. A multi-talented individual, Kennedy worked as a high school coach, public relations man and politician. In the late 1930s, he coached highly successful teams and was athletic director at St. Basil's Preparatory School in Stamford.

He married Marion McRedmond in 1940 with whom he had three children: David, Robert and Kathleen.

In the 1940s, he returned to Notre Dame, his alma mater, to become its Sports Information Director. He then moved on to the Basketball Association of America as the Public Relations Director, just as the league was merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association.

During much of the 1950s, J. Walter Kennedy toured the world with the Harlem Globetrotters as the Publicity Director. He returned home to Stamford and was elected mayor in 1959 before the NBA owners elected him president in 1963. The sports complex at Westhill High School in Stamford is named the J. Walter Kennedy Sports Complex.

President/Commissioner of the NBA

Succeeding the likable first president Maurice Podoloff, approachable Kennedy became an iron-handed executive and let everyone know precisely where he stood on issues. Kennedy quickly exerted his authority, slapping Red Auerbach with a $500 fine for rowdy conduct during a pre-season 1963 game. At the time, it was the largest fine ever levied against a coach or player in the NBA. His title was changed to "commissioner" in 1967.

Kennedy was also the commissioner who upheld the first protest ever in the NBA, which was the one filed by the Chicago Bulls for "the Phantom Buzzer Game" against the Atlanta Hawks in 1969.

Kennedy assumed the helm of the NBA when the league was struggling with only nine teams, no television contract, sagging attendance and competition from the American Basketball League (1961–1963). When Kennedy retired in 1975 as commissioner, the league had increased to 18 teams, landed a lucrative television contract and improved its financial standing considerably, experienced a 200 percent boost in income and attendance figures tripled during his tenure. He came to power in the waning days of the ABL, and retired just before the final season of the American Basketball Association.

Walter Kennedy was also instrumental in bringing an annual NBA game to Springfield to benefit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where he served on the Hall of Fame's Board of Trustees for 13 years, two of which were spent as the Hall of Fame's President. Kennedy was inducted into the Hall in 1981.

Kennedy was also quite involved in many social causes, including the Special Olympics, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Boys' Town of Italy. The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award is presented annually to an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community. Past recipients include Julius "Dr J" Erving, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Bob Lanier, Reggie Miller and Glenn "Doc" Rivers.


Kennedy died shortly after his 65th birthday in 1977 of liver failure[1] after a brief bout with cancer. He was eulogized by Howard Cosell and his funeral was attended by many athletes and dignitaries, including the Governor of Connecticut Ella Grasso, Willis Reed, NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He was survived by his wife and three children (Kathy, David and Robert), as well as four grandchildren Kelly (has five children) Charlotte, Annie, Peter, Virginia, and Robert), Robert Jr., Paul (has two children Paul jr. and Grace) and Christopher (has two children - Maeve and Griffin). He is buried at St. John's Cemetery in Stamford, Connecticut.


  1. ^ "Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois on June 27, 1977 · Page 7". newspapers.com.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Conrad J. Engelke
Mayor of Stamford, Connecticut
Succeeded by
William F. Hickey Jr.
Brian Grant

Brian Wade Grant (born March 5, 1972) is a retired American basketball player. He played the power forward and center positions for five teams during 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association. He was known for his tenacious rebounding and blue-collar defense. During his career, he played with the Sacramento Kings (where he made First Team All-Rookie in the 1994–95 season), Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

Chris Dudley

Christen Guilford Dudley (born February 22, 1965) is an American retired basketball player and politician. He played for 16 years and 886 games in the NBA for five different teams. A journeyman center, he was known primarily for his defensive skill as a rebounder and shot blocker. In 2010, he was the Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon.

Commissioner of the NBA

The Commissioner of the NBA is the chief executive of the National Basketball Association. The current commissioner is Adam Silver after he succeeded David Stern on February 1, 2014.

Dan Issel

Daniel Paul Issel (born October 25, 1948) is an American retired Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame professional basketball player and coach. An outstanding collegian at the University of Kentucky, he was twice named an All American en route to a still school record 25.7 points per game. The American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year in 1971, he was a six-time ABA All-Star and one-time NBA All-Star.

A prolific scorer, Issel remains the all-time leading scorer at the University of Kentucky and second all time for the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the American Basketball Association itself . Upon his retirement from the NBA in 1985, only Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving had scored more professional points.

Dave Bing

David Bing (born November 24, 1943) is an American retired Hall of Fame basketball player, former mayor of Detroit, Michigan, and businessman.

After starring at Syracuse University, Bing played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a guard for the Detroit Pistons (1966 to 1975), Washington Bullets (1975 to 1977), and Boston Celtics (1977–78). During his career, he averaged over 20 points and six assists per game and made seven NBA All-Star appearances, winning the game's Most Valuable Player award in 1976. The Pistons celebrated his career accomplishments with the retirement of his #21 jersey. In addition, he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all-time.

Bing founded Bing Steel, a processing company that earned him the National Minority Small Business Person of the Year award in 1984. Soon the business grew into the multimillion-dollar Detroit-based conglomerate, the Bing Group, one of the largest steel companies in Michigan.

Bing entered Detroit politics as a Democrat in 2008, announcing his intentions to run for mayor in the city's non-partisan primary to finish the term of Kwame Kilpatrick, who had resigned amid a corruption scandal. After winning the primary, Bing then defeated Interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. and was sworn in as mayor in May 2009. Later that year, Bing was re-elected to a full term. However, he lost most of his power to Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr, had numerous health problems, and suffered approval ratings as low as 14%. Bing thus did not seek re-election in 2013 and was succeeded by politician and businessman Mike Duggan.

David Kennedy (film producer)

David Kennedy (1941 or 1942 – June 14, 2015) was an American film producer and talent agent. His work includes Saving Milly and Dark Shadows, based on the popular gothic soap opera created by Dan Curtis. Kennedy coincidentally ran Dan Curtis Productions until Curtis' death in March 2006.

He was born in Stamford Connecticut, the son of J. Walter Kennedy, who served as commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended University of Notre Dame where he played football and was on the track team. His first job after college was as a producer with NBC Sports. Kennedy died in 2015 after knee replacement surgery in Los Angeles, aged 73.

Frank Layden

Francis Layden (born January 5, 1932) is a retired American basketball coach and executive of the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz.

J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since 1975 to a player, coach, or staff member who shows "outstanding service and dedication to the community." The award is named in honor of James Walter Kennedy, the second commissioner (then president) of the NBA. The winner is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). The PBWA represents writers for newspapers, magazines and internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members of the PBWA nominate players for the award, and then a vote is taken by approximately 150 PBWA members. The person with the highest point total wins the award. The award is usually given to a person who made a substantial charitable contribution. For instance, Kevin Garnett received the award in 2006 after donating $1.2 million toward the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.Since its inception, the award has been given to 34 different people. Only one season had joint winners—Michael Cooper and Rory Sparrow in the 1985–86 season. Vlade Divac of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Dikembe Mutombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pau Gasol of Spain, Canadians Steve Nash (born in South Africa), Samuel Dalembert (born in Haiti), and Luol Deng of the United Kingdom (born in South Sudan) are the only winners who were not born in the United States. J. J. Barea, the 2018 winner, was born in Puerto Rico, a territory whose native-born residents are U.S. citizens by birth. Mutombo is also the only player to win the award twice. Frank Layden and Joe O'Toole were the only non-players to win the award. Layden, the 1983–84 award recipient, was the head coach for the Utah Jazz, while O'Toole, the 1994–95 award recipient, was the athletic trainer for the Atlanta Hawks.In 2017-18 season the award was given to Puerto Rican Player JJ Barea of the Dallas Mavericks.

List of Cleveland Cavaliers seasons

The Cleveland Cavaliers (also known as the Cavs) are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1970. This list summarizes the team's season-by-season records, including post-season, and includes select season-end awards won by the team's players and/or coaches. The Cavaliers were founded in 1970 as an expansion franchise and since their first season, they have always played in the Central Division and in the Eastern Conference.On October 14, 1970, the Cavs lost to the Buffalo Braves 92–107 in their first game. They have been awarded the first overall draft pick six times, choosing Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014). In his last season with the Cavs, Austin Carr won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, the first of four Cavaliers to win the award (Eric Snow, Luol Deng and LeBron James won the award in 2005, 2014 and 2017, respectively). As a Cavalier, LeBron won Rookie of the Year as well as four MVP awards and two All Star Game MVP awards. He also led the Cavaliers to five NBA Finals, including the last 4 straight, and won the 2016 title as Finals MVP. Cleveland's next first overall pick after James, Kyrie Irving, won Rookie of the Year in 2012 and NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2014.In their 48 seasons, the Cavs have achieved a winning record 23 times. Highlights include 20 playoff appearances, which included winning the Central Division championship six times (1975–76, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, and 2017–18), winning the Eastern Conference championship five times (2006–07, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, and 2017–18), and winning the NBA Title in 2016. In five straight playoff appearances with LeBron James in his first tenure with Cleveland, the Cavs won more playoff games than they lost each season, something they only ever managed, barely, once before, in the 1991–92 season. Overall, their winning percentage through the years is .456, with 1660 wins and 1967 losses in regular season play (as of March 13, 2015). They are 84 and 84 in the playoffs, a winning percentage of .500. Cleveland's 2016 championship meant that the Eastern Conference's Central Division is the only current NBA division with more than 3 franchises that have won NBA titles (Cleveland joined Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee as teams with at least one championship).

List of National Basketball Association awards

The National Basketball Association (NBA) presents 12 annual awards to recognize its teams, players, and coaches for their accomplishments. This does not include the NBA championship trophy which is given to the winning team of the NBA Finals.

The NBA's championship trophy made its first appearance after the inaugural NBA Finals in 1947. In 1964, it was named after Walter A. Brown who was instrumental in merging the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League into the NBA. The Brown Trophy design remained the same until 1977 when the current trophy design was first introduced although it retained the Walter A. Brown title. In 1984, the trophy was renamed to honor former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien.The NBA's first individual awards were the Rookie of the Year and the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, both of which were introduced in 1953. The only individual award of the postseason is the Bill Russell Finals MVP. The Executive of the Year is the only award not presented by the NBA. It is named annually by Sporting News but is officially recognized by the NBA.Through the 2015–16 season, each individual award, with the exception of the Finals MVP, was awarded at the end of the regular season while the NBA Playoffs were ongoing. This procedure was different from the other major professional sports leagues, which have long handed out individual awards after their postseasons have concluded. The 2016–17 season was the first in which the NBA held an awards show after the completion of the Finals, during which the winners of all season-long individual awards are announced except for the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which continued to be announced during the playoffs until 2017 and in 2018 was announced after the playoffs but before the awards show.Aside from these annual awards, the league also has weekly and monthly honors during the regular season for its players and coaches.

Major League Baseball logo

The Major League Baseball logo was designed by Jerry Dior in 1968 and was included on all on-field uniforms of Major League Baseball (MLB) employees beginning in the 1969 season.

Mike Glenn

Mike Theodore "Stinger" Glenn (born September 10, 1955) is an American former professional basketball player.

A 6'2" guard, Glenn graduated in 1973 from Rome's Coosa High School, where he was an all-state standout, still holding the school points record at over 2,400 points for his high school career. He also completed twelve years of perfect attendance in elementary, middle, & high school while being named the #1-rated basketball player in the state and maintaining his status as an honor student. Moving on to Southern Illinois University, Glenn was an All-Missouri Valley Conference college basketball player, graduating with honors and a B.S. degree in mathematics (minoring in computer science) in 1977. He would go on to play ten seasons (1977–1987) in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Buffalo Braves, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Milwaukee Bucks.

Drafted twenty-third overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1977, Glenn broke his neck in an offseason auto accident and was released from the team. He battled back to make a quick recovery, though, starting his NBA career later that same year with the Buffalo Braves. In 1978, Glenn signed with the New York Knicks; during his time in New York City, Glenn attended graduate business classes at St. John's University and Baruch College, earning his stockbroker's license. Over the course on his NBA career, Glenn averaged 7.6 points per game while shooting 54.2% from the field. He was noted for his smooth midrange jump shot, which not only contributed to his high shooting percentage (an amazing mark for a 6'3" guard), but also earned him the nickname "The Stinger" early in his career from his Knicks teammates. In 1981, Glenn received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for community service.

Since retiring as a basketball player, Glenn has worked as a television analyst, writer, and commissioner of the World Basketball Association. Because of his business background, Glenn was also employed in the early 1990s by Merrill Lynch as a consultant for the NBA's pre-pension plan. He currently runs the Mike Glenn All-Star Basketball Camp for the Hearing-Impaired, which is the nation's first basketball camp for deaf athletes and is offered every summer, free of charge, to as many as 120 deaf athletes from across the country. He worked as the Atlanta Hawks' color commentator on SportSouth and FSN from 1992–2005, and now serves as the Hawks' pregame and postgame analyst on FSN South.

In addition to his basketball-related work, Glenn is also an avid collector of artifacts pertaining to African-American history. He maintains a large personal library on the subject, and has displayed his collection in exhibits across the country. Using sources from his library, Glenn has written several biographical books on famous African-Americans.

P. J. Brown

Collier "P. J." Brown Jr. (born October 14, 1969) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 239 lb (108 kg; 17.1 st) center/power forward was selected out of Louisiana Tech University by the New Jersey Nets with the 29th overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft, but began his NBA career only in the 1993–94 season. He has been voted into the NBA All-Defensive Second Team three times, in 1997, 1999 and 2001, and won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2004. He attended Winnfield Senior High School in Winnfield, Louisiana, where he played for the Winnfield Tigers, and has played professionally for the Nets, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics.

Rory Sparrow

Rory Darnell Sparrow (born June 12, 1958) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Sparrow played at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, and was an inaugural inductee into the school's Hall of Fame.He played collegiately at Villanova University, where he scored 1183 career points, and made 495 assists. In college, Sparrow made game-winning shots in the last ten seconds of the game on five occasions.

Sparrow, a 6'2" guard, was selected 75th overall (round 4, pick 6) of the 1980 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. Including the Nets, he played with the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers over a 12-year career, retiring after the 1991-92 season. He scored the first field goal in Miami Heat history, when the franchise was created in 1988.

Samuel Dalembert

Samuel Davis Dalembert (born May 10, 1981) is a former Haitian-Canadian professional basketball player who last played for the Shanxi Zhongyu of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He played college basketball for Seton Hall University. He is known for his shot blocking ability.

Slick Watts

Donald Earl "Slick" Watts (born July 22, 1951) is an American former basketball player.Watts was not selected by any team in the 1973 NBA draft, but his coach at Xavier University of Louisiana was a cousin of Bill Russell, who was the coach and general manager for the Seattle SuperSonics. Russell gave Watts a tryout, and he signed with the SuperSonics as a free agent. After making the roster for the 1973–74 season as a reserve, he played more frequently the following season and became a starter for the 1975–76 season. That season, he led the NBA in total assists, assists per game, total steals, steals per game, and made NBA All-Defense First-Team. He was the first player to lead the league in assists and steals in the same season.In 1976, Watts also received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his outstanding service to the community.Watts' career declined after 1976, however, and he retired from the league after six seasons, due to injury. He played 4½ years with the Sonics, half a season with the New Orleans Jazz, and one season with the Houston Rockets.He picked up the nickname "Slick" because he was one of the first players to shave his head, unusual at the time. He was also known for wearing his headband off-center.After his playing career, Watts became a physical education teacher at Dearborn Park elementary school and a basketball coach at Franklin High School in the Seattle area and took up tennis. In 2001, Watts spent 22 days in a hospital with sarcoidosis, which caused his weight to drop by almost 50 pounds before his condition improved. He ended his post-basketball career teaching physical education for nearly 20 years at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Seattle before retiring in 2017.

Terry Porter

Terry Porter (born April 8, 1963) is an American college basketball coach and former player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently the head men's basketball coach at the University of Portland. A native of Wisconsin, he played college basketball at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point before being drafted 24th by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1985 NBA draft. In Portland, he played ten seasons with two All-Star Game appearances. Porter spent 17 years in the NBA as a player. Following his retirement as a player in 2002, he began coaching in the league and has twice been a head coach, first with his hometown Milwaukee Bucks, and then with the Phoenix Suns up until February 16, 2009. He was the alumni ambassador for Portland Trail Blazers.

Thurl Bailey

Thurl Lee Bailey (born April 7, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player whose NBA career spanned from 1983 to 1999 with the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bailey has been a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah— in addition to work as an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter, and film actor.

Wayne Ellington

Wayne Robert Ellington Jr. (born November 29, 1987) is an American professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played for the University of North Carolina from 2006 to 2009. He chose to forgo his final season of college eligibility to declare for the 2009 NBA draft, and was drafted 28th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has previously played for the Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, and Miami Heat.


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