Larry O'Brien


Larry O'Brien
Lawrence Francis O'Brien, Jr.
3rd Commissioner of the National Basketball Association
In office
1975–1984
Preceded by Walter Kennedy
Succeeded by David Stern
57th United States Postmaster General
In office
November 3, 1965 – April 10, 1968
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by John A. Gronouski
Succeeded by W. Marvin Watson
31st Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
1968 – 1969
Preceded by John Moran Bailey
Succeeded by Fred R. Harris
33rd Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
1970–1972
Preceded by Fred R. Harris
Succeeded by Jean Westwood
Personal details
Born July 7, 1917
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Died September 28, 1990(1990-09-28) (aged 73)
New York City
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Northeastern University

Lawrence Francis "Larry" O'Brien, Jr. (July 7, 1917 – September 28, 1990) was one of the United States Democratic Party's leading electoral strategists when, for more than two decades, he helped reshape American politics. He served as Postmaster General in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson.

He also served as commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1975 to 1984.

O'Brien, son of Irish immigrants, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he wasn't working in politics, O'Brien managed his family's real estate and did public relations work as well.

Contents

Politics

O'Brien learned about politics at a young age when his father was a local leader of the Democratic Party and had recruited 11-year-old Lawrence to serve locally as a volunteer in the 1928 presidential campaign of Al Smith. O'Brien became a passionate Democrat before earning a bachelor's degree in law in 1942 at Northeastern University - Springfield Division now known as Western New England College School of Law.

He was appointed in 1946, 1948 and 1950 by his friend Foster Furcolo to serve locally as the director of his U.S. House of Representatives election campaigns.

O'Brien was appointed in 1952 by John F. Kennedy to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful U.S. Senate election campaign and, in 1958, to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful reelection campaign. His elections were largely attributed to O'Brien's recruitment and use of volunteers, and his development of a statewide election campaign.

He began in 1959 to build the foundation for Senator Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign by touring the United States.

O'Brien was appointed in 1960 by Sen. Kennedy to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign. His election planning in key primary states such as Wisconsin and West Virginia convinced many in the party that Sen. Kennedy's Catholicism wasn't a problem.

O'Brien developed a new presidential campaign strategy for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which became the standard for both parties. He collected information about each convention delegate and alternate delegate, and communicated frequently the liaison of every delegation.

O'Brien was appointed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign.

In 1968, O'Brien was appointed by Vice President Hubert Humphrey to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign and by Howard Hughes to serve in Washington as his public-policy lobbyist.

Committed to the principle that political parties are fundamental to the American political process, O'Brien was elected in 1968 and 1970 by the DNC to serve nationally as its chairman. His office was the primary target of the break-in at DNC headquarters in 1972, leading to the ensuing Watergate scandal. John H. Meier, a former business advisor to Hughes, collaborated with Hubert Humphrey and others to use Donald Nixon to feed misinformation to his brother the President.

According to Meier, he told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election since they had a lot of information on Richard Nixon’s illicit dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released, and that Larry O’Brien had the information [1] (O’Brien didn’t actually have any documents but Meier wanted Richard Nixon to think he did). Donald then called his brother and told him that Meier gave the Democrats all the Hughes information that could destroy him (Richard Nixon) and that O’Brien has it.[2]

This provided the President with the motivation to break into O’Brien’s office, as he wanted to see if anything was going to break before the election, and which led to the Watergate scandal.

During the 1972 Presidential election, O'Brien was a top adviser to George McGovern. During the Thomas Eagleton affair, his name was mentioned as a possible Vice-Presidential replacement. This later went to Sargent Shriver.

The DNC Lawrence O'Brien Award was created in 1992 by his family and Democratic Party leaders to acknowledge the many years of service he gave to the party and his belief in the important contribution of volunteers.

Government

His first post in Washington was given to him by Rep. Foster Furcolo in 1948 to serve in Washington as his administrative assistant and in 1960 he was appointed by President-elect Kennedy to recruit staff for his administration.

O'Brien was appointed in 1961 by President Kennedy to serve in Washington as his special assistant to the president for congressional relations and personnel. O'Brien was also responsible for awarding patronage.

He lobbied successfully during President Kennedy's first year for the expansion of the U.S. House of Representatives Standing Committee on rules to ensure a liberal and moderate majority. O'Brien lobbied also for a majority in support of increasing the minimum wage.

He managed President Kennedy's activities in 1962 on behalf of the Democratic Party during its election campaigns.

O'Brien remained at the White House after President Kennedy's assassination when he was appointed in 1963 to serve in Washington as President Johnson's special assistant to the president for congressional relations and personnel. O'Brien continued this service through 1965.

O'Brien was appointed in 1965 by President Johnson to serve in Washington, D.C. as the U.S. Postmaster General. O'Brien continued this service through 1968.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery was named and opened in 2004 in his memory.

NBA Commissioner

He was appointed in 1975 by the National Basketball Association to serve nationally as its commissioner, where he directed the successful ABA-NBA merger that brought the American Basketball Association into the NBA, negotiated television-broadcast agreements with CBS Television, and saw game attendance increase significantly. He continued this service through 1984. The NBA Championship Trophy was renamed in 1984 the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy in honor of his service to the sport of basketball.

However, his league was troubled by public relations issues through his tenure, especially after the merger. The NBA was looked down on by many fans and reporters who believed, rightly or wrongly, that most NBA players used illegal drugs. O'Brien also pushed for the league to move its TV contract from ABC to CBS; in the aftermath of this, ABC Sports chief Roone Arledge decimated CBS' NBA ratings via counter-programming, and CBS later used a new contract to move around, show on tape-delayed coverage (most famously Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals), or simply ignore NBA postseason games. He was also generally pushed by his staff into many of his good decisions, such as the expanded All-Star Weekend, most notably by current NBA commissioner David Stern. Many consider Stern the driving force behind expanded (and non-haphazard) TV contracts with CBS and cable networks and the rise in game attendance, as well as several crucial issues that predicated the rise of the NBA in the early 1980s.[3]

O'Brien was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in his birthplace, Springfield, Massachusetts.

NBA career highlights

  • League expanded from 18 to 23 teams under O'Brien
  • Coordinated the NBA's richest TV contract to date (1982)
  • Brought the NBA to cable television (ESPN and USA) in 1982, establishing the league as a cable TV pioneer
  • Negotiated two landmark collective bargaining agreements (1976, 1983)
  • Modified the college draft and restored peace to a league in the midst of legal turmoil (1976)
  • Negotiated the ABA-NBA merger as the Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, and New Jersey Nets joined the league and the Kentucky Colonels and Spirits of St. Louis were bought out and Virginia Squires folded
  • Introduced salary cap (1983)
  • Orchestrated the 1976 settlement of the Oscar Robertson suit, creating a fair and equitable system of free agency for veterans
  • Annual NBA attendance reached 10 million during his tenure
  • Gate receipts doubled and television revenue tripled during his time as commissioner
  • Established NBA College Scholarship program (1980)
  • Reached a stringent anti-drug agreement with the NBA Players Association (1983)
  • Oversaw the adoption of the three-point field goal in the NBA (1979)

Quotations

  • "Volunteers are essential to the success of any political campaign. There is no such thing as having a surplus of volunteers," O'Brien, 1960 campaign manual of President Kennedy.
  • "I'm proud to be a politician. Politics is the art of the possible and it is an intensely personal art," O'Brien memoirs, No Final Victories.

References

  1. ^ DuBois, Larry, and Laurence Gonzales (September 1976).Hughes Nixon and the C.I.A.: The Watergate Conspiracy Woodward and Bernstein Missed.Playboy.
  2. ^ Bellett, Gerald (1995). Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes. Voyageur North America. ISBN 0-921842-42-2
  3. ^ Halberstam, David (1999). Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World he Made. Random House. ISBN 0767904443. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Gronouski
United States Postmaster General
Served under: Lyndon B. Johnson

November 3, 1965 – April 20, 1968
Succeeded by
W. Marvin Watson
Party political offices
Preceded by
John M. Bailey
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
Fred R. Harris
Preceded by
Fred R. Harris
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
1970 – 1972
Succeeded by
Jean Westwood
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Walter Kennedy
NBA Commissioner
1975 – 84
Succeeded by
David Stern

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Larry O'Brien — Larry O’Brien Lawrence Francis O’Brien (* 7. Juli 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts; † 27. September 1990 in New York City) war ein Politiker der US Demokraten und der dritte Commissioner der National Basketball Association …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Larry O’Brien — Lawrence Francis O’Brien (* 7. Juli 1917 in Springfield, Massachusetts; † 27. September 1990 in New York City) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei und der dritte Commissioner der National Basketball Association …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Larry O'Brien —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie différentes personnes partageant un même nom. Larry O Brien, une personnalité politique américaine (1917 – 1990). Larry O Brien, une personnalité politique canadienne (1949). Catégorie : Homonymie de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy — Awarded for winner of the NBA Finals Presented by NBA First awarded 1977 (a …   Wikipedia

  • Larry O'Brien (basket-ball) — Larry O Brien (homme politique américain) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Larry O Brien. Lawrence Larry Francis O Brien, Jr. (né le 7 juillet 1917, Springfield, Massachusetts – décédé le 28 septembre, 1990) était l un des stratèges du parti… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Larry O'Brien (basket ball) — Larry O Brien (homme politique américain) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Larry O Brien. Lawrence Larry Francis O Brien, Jr. (né le 7 juillet 1917, Springfield, Massachusetts – décédé le 28 septembre, 1990) était l un des stratèges du parti… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Larry O’Brien (Kanadischer Politiker) — Larry O’Brien Larry O Brien, eigentlich: Lawrence Robert O Brien,[1] (* 19. Juli 1949 in Ottawa) ist seit dem 1. Dezember 2006 der 58. und derzeit amtierende Bürgermeister der kanadischen Bundeshauptstadt Ottawa. O Brien ist Mitglied der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Larry O'Brien (politique) — Larry O Brien  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différentes personnes partageant un même nom. Larry O Brien (homme politique américain) Larry O Brien (homme politique canadien) Ce document provient de « Larry O%27Brien ». Catégorie :… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Larry O'Brien (Canadian politician) — Infobox Politician name =Larry O Brien caption = Larry O Brien birth date =birth date and age |1949|07|19 birth place =Ottawa, Canada office = 58th Mayor of Ottawa 2nd Mayor of the new city term start = December 1, 2006 term end = 2010… …   Wikipedia

  • Larry O'Brien (homme politique américain) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Larry O Brien. Lawrence Francis O Brien, Jr. Lawrence « Larry » Francis O Brien, Jr. (né le 7 juillet 1917, Springfield, Massachusetts – décédé le 28 septemb …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.