An astute businessman Tom King played just one season in the NBA with the Detroit Falcons and later became a wealthy businessman. A
fter starring in college for the University of Michigan he signed for a bonus of $500 in addition to a then huge salary of $8,000. In the regular season he compiled a 5.2 points per game average in 58 games for a Detroit team that finished in 4th place in the 5 team Western Division with a 20-40 record. Note: this was the inaugural season of the Basketball Association of American, the BAA, which merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to formed the NBA.
In his autobiography Tom King said, ‘When I reported to the Falcons training camp, it was obvious to me they had a coach, a gym and that the uniforms were ordered. What they didn’t have was a publicity director or business manager. I had a B.S. from Michigan University in business administration. I knew how to write and type. In high school I’d been a stringer for the Lansing, Michigan State Journal Newspaper – and I knew how to keep books. So I asked for the jobs of publicity director and business manager of the Falcons and was hired by Arthur Wirtz and James Norris, who owned not only the Falcons Olympic Stadium but also the Chicago Stadium and St. Louis Area , home of the Chicago Stags and St Louis Bombers (two other BAA teams).'
'They’d paid me an $8,000 salary as a player and a $500 bonus to sign. I said I could do this other, additional work for $8,000 more. And, they agreed. My total salary was way more than any player made.’
Tom King earned $16,500, a huge sum in this era when the average worker made around $1.00 per hour.
Later Tom King worked his way up and became president of the Merchandise Mart and Appeal Center in Chicago, the largest building - square footage-wise - in the country. The Mart was owned by John Kennedy, the father of President John F. Kennedy. basketballhistorian.com presents basketball history