Richard Bloch, one of the co-founders of the Phoenix Suns franchise, passed away on Saturday. He was 89.
Bloch was the Suns’ president and controlling partner in 1968, the team’s first season in the NBA. He hired Jerry Colangelo to be the first general manager in franchise history. Colangelo would eventually become the team’s majority owner.
“He meant everything. He was the individual who had enough faith and confidence in me as a very young guy in professional sports to hire me,” Colangelo told ABC15. “So, I’ve always felt like I’ve owed so much to him for giving me that opportunity.
After graduating from the University of Chicago and attending graduate school at the University of Arizona, Bloch served for the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He’d later work in real estate, as a manager at a television station, then as chairman of the NBA’s Board of Governors.
Colangelo credited Bloch for taking a shot on him as a 28-year-old GM.
“It was a longshot at the time. But they got it, and the one thing that they did — and this was really a key, I believe — they gave me an awful lot of autonomy to do what was required,” Colangelo said. “None of them had experience in pro sports, and they wanted someone — although my experience was limited, I was a full-time guy, and they just let me run.
“He was a dear friend, a business partner, and I’ll always be indebted. We lost a very fine man in Richard Bloch.”