Settling in Oceanside, NBA Hall of Fame referee recalls a lifetime of basketball
He called the shots
Posted January 19, 2018
By Peter Belfiore
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Roughly midway through Emanuel “Manny Sokal” Sokolofsky’s 13-year career as an NBA referee, the now 88-year-old Oceanside newcomer made a bad call.
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In 1952, after serving a two-year stint in the Army, Sokolofsky began working at a 7 Up bottling plant in Mineola, commuting via the Long Island Rail Road, and for years he continued to referee night and weekend games. “Anything I could get,” he recalled.
He caught a big break when he was asked to fill in for a no-show and call a scrimmage match between City College and Manhattan College at Madison Square Garden. There he caught the eye of City College coach Dave Polanksy. “Where have you been all my life?” Sokolofsky recalled being asked after Polanksy learned that he was calling his first college game.
Sokolofsky continued officiating college games, and while working a New York University scrimmage in 1964, he attracted the attention of a veteran NBA referee — and the newly appointed league supervisor of officials — Sid Borgia.
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