Naismith Memorial Basketball HOF
Detroit Pistons Owner (1957 – 1974)
Fred Zollner was born in Little Falls, Minnesota and received a degree from the University of Minnesota. Zollner started a basketball team in Fort Wayne, Indiana that began play in 1939 as an independent in what was basically an industrial league. In 1941 the Zollner Pistons joined the National Basketball League and were dominant, winning the 1944 and 1945 championships. In 1949, Zollner convinced other owners in the NBL and the BAA to merge and form the National Basketball Association. The Pistons continued to be successful appearing in the 1954 and 1955 NBA finals. In 1957, Zollner moved his Pistons to Detroit to take advantage of the larger fan base. At the 1975 Silver Anniversary NBA All-Star Game Fred Zollner was named “Mr. Pro Basketball” in honor of his efforts and support of the NBA. Fred Zollner was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. He passed away on June 21, 1982 at 81 years of age.