OWNER, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL TEAM
In 1946 Danny Biasone founded the Syracuse Nationals, a team that became a charter member of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Biasone was the initiator of one of the most influential rule changes in the history of the sport; Biasone devised the rule commonly referred to as the 24-second clock.
The style of play in the NBA of the early 1950s was far different than the up-tempo and very athletic modern contests. The 48-minute game had no rule with respect to how long a team could keep possession of the ball before taking a shot. When playing a dominant offensive opponent, such as 6 ft 10 in (2m) center George Mikan, teams were inclined to "freeze" the ball, keeping possession for extended periods to keep the score down and to neutralize players such as Mikan. In one notable NBA game in 1950, the Fort Wayne team held the ball for an entire half of one game against Mikan's Milwaukee team.
Biasone and his fellow NBA owners realized that the slow and sluggish offensive tactics were not popular with their fans, and a legitimate fear arose among the league principals that professional basketball would not succeed as a spectator sport unless the pace of the game was quickened considerably.
In 1954, Biasone devised a solution that was both simple and brilliant. He calculated that if a team was permitted 24 seconds within which to take a shot, if both teams used their maximum time allotment for each possession in a 12-minute quarter, each team would take 15 shots, or 60 for the game. Biasone reasoned that so long as shots were being taken within a set time, the fans would enjoy the pace of the game. The 24-second clock rule change was implemented in the 1954 season, bringing immediate results. The scoring average per NBA team went from 79 points to 93 points in the first year of the new rule. The various tactics employed by coaches and teams in the management of the 24-second clock by the offensive team have become an essential aspect of modern offensive basketball.
The shot clock rule was later adopted, with differing time limits, by both FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) of the Unites States. Biasone has been recognized throughout the history of the NBA as the man who may have saved the game from extinction with his prescience regarding how the game could be played more quickly.
Biasone owned the Syracuse Nations from 1946 to 1963. Biasone was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, in recognition of his contributions to basketball.