Morris Chalfen

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Morris Chalfen (c. 1907 – November 4, 1979)[1] was a sports entertainment promoter. He founded the Holiday On Ice show, and later purchased and relocated a near-extinct National Basketball League (NBL) franchise which became the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers began in 1946 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 and relocated it to Minneapolis and renamed it the Lakers. They hired a general manager, Max Winter, and a coach, John Kundla, then began the hunt for players. As the Gems had by far the worst record in the NBL, the Lakers had the first pick in the 1947 dispersal draft of players from the Professional Basketball League of America, which they used to selected George Mikan, later to become the greatest center of his time.

With Mikan, new coach John Kundla and an infusion of former University of Minnesota players, the Lakers won the NBL championship in that 1947-48 season and joined four other NBL teams in jumping to the Basketball Association of America, where they promptly won the 1948-49 BAA championship. The NBL and BAA merged to become the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949. In 1957, he and Berger sold the team to Bob Short. Three years later the team moved to Los Angeles.

In 1960, Chalfen's wife Marty Collins Chalfen and three children were killed in the crash of Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710. Chalfen himself died at the age of 72 in 1979.