Marty Blake, the NBA’s longtime director of scouting, died Sunday, according to published reports. He was 86 years old.

Blake worked in the NBA for more than 50 years and has been called by many the “Godfather of scouting.” The NBA said Blake died in Alpharetta, Ga., but didn’t provide a cause of death.

Blake was general manager of the Hawks franchise before spending more than 35 years as the league’s director of scouting. Commissioner David Stern said the NBA would “forever be indebted to him.”

Hawks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry released the following statement in regard to Blake’s death:

“On behalf of the entire Hawks organization, I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Marty Blake. As the General Manager of the Milwaukee, St. Louis and Atlanta Hawks from 1954 to 1970, including his guidance of the Hawks to the 1958 NBA Championship, and as the NBA’s Director of Scouting for over 35 years, Marty’s innumerable contributions to the Hawks and the NBA will never be forgotten.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern also released a statement on Blake’s passing, writing:

“Marty began his lifetime of service to basketball at a time when the league was still in its infancy. His work as a general manager and then as director of scouting for the NBA first helped the teams to understand the value of scouting. Marty’s dedication not just to the NBA, but to basketball was extraordinary and we will forever be indebted to him.”

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