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Danny Biasone: The Biography Of The Man Who Invented The Shot Clock

Danny Biasone: The Biography Of The Man Who Invented The Shot Clock

The NBA today is a fast-paced game, where teams seemingly never come close to a shot clock violation. This was the exact opposite of how the game was played in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The teams took their time, trying to find the best possible matchup in the half-court. The shot clock almost always appeared to be running down before a team took their shot during that era.

Both styles of play are great, and it all depends on which pace of play fits more to your liking. My question is, do any of you fans out there know who the person was that created the shot clock?

If you're not sure, no problem, you've come to the right place. The person who created the shot clock in the NBA was a man by the name of Danny Biasone.


The Life Of The Man Who Created The Shot Clock

On February 22, 1909, Dante Biasone was born in the small town of Miglianico, Chieti, Italy. He lived there until he was 10, when his parents moved him and his brother to Syracuse, New York.

As a New Yorker, Biasone decided to change his name to fit in better with the kids in the community, so he changed it to Daniel and his friends called him Danny. Biasone attended Catholic Vocational High School, where he played football. He was the star quarterback on the team, but his play didn't earn him a college scholarship.

After high school, Biasone worked several odd jobs to get by, as he needed to support his new family after marrying his high school sweetheart. By age 27, Biasone and a business partner opened an Italian restaurant. They saw success with the restaurant, but Biasone wanted to go a different route.

In 1941, five years after opening the restaurant, Biasone sold his share of the restaurant and invested the money into a bowling alley. The bowling alley turned out to be a massive success, and it made Biasone rich.

With his newfound riches, Biasone went out and bought himself a professional basketball team in the National Basketball League (NBL). The team Biasone bought was the Syracuse Nationals.

In their first season, the Syracuse Nationals finished the season with a 21-23 record, and they made the playoffs. The Nationals would ultimately lose 3-1 in the Eastern Division Opening Round to the Rochester Royals.

By 1949, the NBL was absorbed by the NBA, and the Syracuse Nationals officially became an NBA franchise. In their first season in the NBA, the Nationals saw success.

The Nationals finished with a 51-13 record, and they made it to the NBA Finals. Syracuse, unfortunately, lost 4-2 to the Minneapolis Lakers.

At this time in the league, the game of basketball saw many low-scoring games. This was capped off by a game between the Minneapolis Lakers and the Fort Wayne Pistons.

The date was November 22, 1950, and the Pistons defeated the Lakers 19-18. This type of game was not exciting for fans, and the league knew something had to be done.

The problem was the league didn't know what to do. Danny Biasone, on the other hand, did have an idea. He and his general manager, Leo Ferris, came up with the idea of using a shot clock to speed up the game.

How many seconds should be placed on the shot clock? What would make sense in the game? These questions were what Biasone pondered, and he came up with a solution.

Biasone studied the game, and he noticed in the games that were high scoring, which brought excitement, the two teams had over 120 shot attempts. So, Biasone used some old-fashioned math skills to come up with the perfect number.

Biasone took the number 48, which is how many minutes an NBA game is, and counted the number of seconds in 48 minutes, which comes to 2880. He then divided 2880 by 120, which was the number of shots the two teams should combine to take, and the answer he got was 24.

“I wasn't looking for any particular time,” Biasone said about coming up with the correct number for his shot clock. “I was just looking for a number. Any number. Twenty-four seconds is what came out.”

There you have it, the 24 second shot clock was born, and the NBA has greatly benefited from this marvelous idea by Biasone. Teams now couldn't dribble the time out as they've done before, which forced teams to play quicker. This led to higher-scoring games and more excitement for fans.

The NBA Commissioner at the time, Maurice Podoloff, called Biasone “The Patron Saint of the NBA” for essentially saving the league. It was reported in 1950 that the NBA would see bankruptcy in three years. So, Biasone truly did save the NBA.

As for Biasone, his Syracuse Nationals won the 1954-55 NBA championship. After the 1962-63 season, Biasone sold the Syracuse Nationals to Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman, who moved the team to Philadelphia and started the 76ers.

After selling his team, Biasone returned to his bowling alley business, where he'd stay and run the business until his death at the age of 83. In 1982, Biasone was given the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA. This award is given to a person who has contributed greatly to the game of basketball.

In 2000, Biasone was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor to the game. This was long overdue, as he should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame years earlier.

So, for all you NBA fans out there who never knew about Danny Biasone, the man who invented the shot clock, you're now well informed. Without Biasone, the NBA may not have survived, so for that, we thank Danny Biasone.

Story credit to Instagram page: basketball_mecca

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