The Newport Daily News had a wonderful feature on Middletown, RI resident, Pete Babcock, whose 42-year career in the NBA culminated in a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Babcock got his start when he dropped out of law school. “I always was enamored with the NBA, and the Phoenix Suns were a relatively new team,” Babcock said. “They started in 1968 as an expansion team. In those days you could buy a general admission ticket for $3.50 and there were like 3,000 people at the game, so you could go sit anywhere you wanted to sit. I just thought if there were anything in the world, this would be what I would do. But I had no idea how to get there. So I thought I would teach myself about the NBA.” And that he did.
Making use of his fundamental basketball knowledge, Babcock spent a year familiarizing himself with the professional game.
“I started videotaping NBA games that were on TV and writing reports on teams just for myself,” Babcock said. “I had a Bulls file, a Celtics file and a 76ers file, about 10 teams total. I charted their plays and I wrote reports on their players’ strengths and weaknesses just for myself — just to learn.
“At the end of the year, I thought the people who would know if the reports were any good were the teams themselves. So I wrote letters to teams and basically said, ‘You don’t know me. I’m a high school coach in Arizona. Here is the report I wrote on your team this year. If you think there is any validity to it, I’d like to scout for you for free. It won’t cost you a penny.”
Several teams wrote back and turned down his request. But the New Orleans Jazz gave him the thumbs up.
More on Pete Babcock here: