When & Where it began
In 1921 Howard Anderson, a Physical Education Director and later the Executive Director of the Bedford Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), organized a group of men to teach and officiate the game of basketball in Brooklyn, New York. This group of men though small in number began refereeing games in Kings County in order to service the many youth and recreation leagues that the popular sport was attracting.
In 1925 Mr. Anderson and James Tobin, a sports official who was active with the Boy Scout program at the Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush, successfully created a Board of basketball officials to service the Churches, Clubs and Associations that provided organized basketball programs and game matches in and around Central Brooklyn.
In that same year, the sport became more popular and the need for officials increased. The American Basketball League was formed, comprised of teams from Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Wayne, New York, Trenton and Washington D.C. This was the first professional basketball league formed in the United States and also the first professional organization to utilize newly trained officials.
This small band of Brooklyn men came to be known as the Flatbush Board of Basketball Officials and grew over the next few years to accommodate the many requests received for trained and honest referees. In 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters formed by Abe Saperstein, a Brooklyn native, played their first season game. Also in that year, the National Association of Basketball Coaches was formed in Kansas City and shortly thereafter ushered in the use of two man officiating crews.
The First Years
Around 1930 another group of men, working in the borough under the aegis of the Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.), joined with the Flatbush Board of Basketball Officials to become an Officiating association later to be recognized and charted by the National Association of Approved Basketball Officials, the predecessor of the current International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc (I.A.A.B.O.). The first President of this new combined Board was Mr. Tarantino, a sports official and teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School.
For the next several years before and after the Second World War, the newly formed organization strived to stimulate within Brooklyn’s sports community the independent and competent officiating of basketball games. The Brooklyn Board cooperated with any persons, groups, or institution that engaged in the dissemination of information about the game and the rules of basketball. During this time period, the Board became a vital part of the New York metropolitan area basketball scene.
Next 20 Years
Much was accomplished during this time period and any New York basketball player, referee or coach of note was able to claim some form of association with our Board. Through the efforts of the men and later the women of IAABO Board #37, a standard of excellence was established. Their ongoing efforts and the cooperation of those connected with the sport helped to propell the game for the greater good in the borough and region. Our focus as Officials has always been and remained giving our best to the youth who play this game, emphasizing fair play at all times, and ensuring that at all levels the proper administration of the game is carried out. These attributes have remained associated with the officials who call themselves Brooklyn Board members.
District Board #37, The Brooklyn Board, has enjoyed a truly rich and marvelous history through the years. In addition to the many notable officials who have been associated with this Board are the athletes and coaches, who for many experienced first hand organized basketball under the trained and skillful eyes of our Board members. A historical listing of the chief administrative officers during the past eighty-five (85 years) which District Board #37 has existed is as follows:
Alfred Steele Hughes
Edmund C. Murphy
James J. Sherlock
Oscar J. Perkoff
Walter J. Oleswski
Terrance A. Kilkenny
Richard W. Bavetta
Eugene L. Ryan
Kenneth P. Jordan
William G. Riley, Sr.
James F. Tobin
Alfred S. Hughes
Kenneth P. Jordan