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Wilt Chamberlain - Related Biography: Philadelphia Warriors Owner Eddie Gottlieb

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Edward "Eddie" Gottlieb, who in 1959 succeeded in claiming Philadelphia native Wilt Chamberlain for his Warriors on the National Basketball Association (NBA) territorial rule, did not simply own the Warriors; he had founded the team and its predecessor.

Born September 15, 1898, in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine), Gottlieb came to the United States with his parents as a small boy. In 1910, he began playing basketball with the Combine Club, a group of Jewish boys in grammar school, and went on to play for South Philadelphia High School. After graduating, Gottlieb organized a team known as the Sphas for their sponsor, the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. Because they had no home court, they called themselves "the Wandering Jews."

The Sphas, who were good enough to beat the Original Celtics in a three-game series, changed their name to the Philadelphia Warriors in 1926. Originally members of the American Basketball Association, they joined the newly formed NBA in 1946. During the team's first three decades, Gottlieb was coach, manager, and part owner, but in 1953 he became full owner. After he sold the team to buyers in San Francisco in 1963, he became a consultant with the NBA.

Gottlieb also worked closely with the Harlem Globetrotters as business adviser and scheduler, and promoted black major-league baseball teams, as well as professional wrestling. He died December 7, 1979.

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