Manny Sokal Inducted in 2013

Contributor Inducted in 2013
Manny Sokol Manny Sokal, Inducted into the NYC Hall of Fame in 2013
Photo credit: ( left, referee Jerry Loeber, Boston Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn, referee Manny Sokol and Atlanta Hawks coach Colton Fitzsimmons confer during a game at the Boston Garden in Boston on Jan. 8, 1975. (Dan Goshtigian/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Manny Sokol (March 16, 1929-August 26, 2021) a Brooklyn native, attended Thomas Jefferson High School where he excelled on the team. Sokol received several college offers but had to work to help support his family.  He joined the Army during the Korean War, becoming a sergeant and often acting as an athlete, coach, and umpire during his unit’s downtime. In the mid-1950s, Sokol took up wrestling and refereeing basketball to make extra money.

In 1965, Sokol went straight from refereeing local games to NBA games.  He officiated the 1972 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, where he shared the floor with legendary players like Walt Frazier, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlin. Sokol refereed NBA games until 1977 due to heart issues, but that wasn't the end of his career. Sokol continued to officiate games for the Harlem Wizards and taught local referees more about the game. During the 1960s and ’70s, Sokol refereed in the Puerto Rican basketball league, Baloncesto Superior Nacional.