NBA Rumor: Sid Hartman Death

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Hartman was the de facto general manager of the Lakers. The concession to journalism was that he did not often write about the Lakers in his newspaper column. In 1947, Hartman took a $15,000 check from Morris Chalfen to Detroit. He met Morris Winston, the owner of the Detroit Gems, at the airport, gave him the check, and the National Basketball League franchise relocated to Minneapolis as the Lakers. Chalfen’s partner was Ben Berger. Hartman, then 28, was offered the job as general manager, with the stipulation that he quit his newspaper job. He wouldn’t do that, so Max Winter — a former boxing promoter — became the official GM, with Hartman involved in personnel decisions. “Involved”’ was not a word Sid would use, by the way. He insisted that he made all of the personnel decisions that turned the Lakers into a dynasty in the early years of pro basketball.

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Glen Taylor: “I am truly saddened by the news of the passing of one of the Twin Cities great personalities in Sid Hartman. With over 21,000 bylines in the Star Tribune, Sid will be considered one of the premier journalists of our time. Sid will always be a staple amongst Minnesota sports and even more so in the basketball community, helping shape what many consider the NBA’s first dynasty with the Minneapolis Lakers. I will always remember Sid for his will, determination, and the upbeat spirit with which he lived his life. Above all, I am thankful for his friendship over all these years. On behalf of the Timberwolves and Lynx, we want to extend our deepest condolences to the entire Hartman family.”

Hartman said he acted as general manager, and signing big man Jim Pollard of Stanford was a startling accomplishment. “I was a twenty-seven-year-old kid, representing a new team and attending one of my first league meetings,” Hartman wrote. “I raised my hand in the middle of the conversation and said, ‘Commissioner, I would like to announce that the Minneapolis Lakers have signed Jim Pollard.’ You could have heard a pin drop.” Then a month before the season, team owners hired Max Winter as the Lakers’ general manager because Hartman wasn’t going to commit to work for the Lakers full-time, according to “Sid!”
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