Marty Blake, who worked in the NBA for more than 50 years and is regarded by many as the "Godfather of NBA Scouting," passed away today, in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was 86.

Blake's virtuosity in unearthing basketball talent from far-flung locations was legendary, and spanned generations. Long before words like "analytics" and "metrics" were part of the vocabulary of basketball talent evaluators, Blake was combing the country for basketball players and devising revolutionary ways to document and compare prospects.

He was general manager of the Milwaukee (later St. Louis and Atlanta) Hawks and later for more than 35 years as the NBA's Director of Scouting, Blake was a trailblazer who was equal parts basketball executive, clever promoter and ambassador for the sport.