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Samuel Balter Jr. (October 15, 1909 – August 8, 1998) was an American basketball player who won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics, and sportscaster.[1]

Olympic medal record
Representing  United States
Men's basketball
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1936 Berlin Team competition


Balter was born in Detroit, Michigan.[1] He went first to Lincoln High School, and then to Roosevelt High School, both in Los Angeles.[2] He attended UCLA, where he played basketball and was an All American.[1][3]

He competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics. As a Jew, he had some hesitation about playing in the Olympics hosted by Hitler's Germany, but was persuaded when he was assured by Avery Brundage that there would be no Nazi propaganda at the games.[4]

He was part of the American basketball team, which won the gold medal. He played two matches, but not the final match in which the US team won the gold medal. He was one of a number of Jewish athletes who won medals at the Nazi Olympics in Berlin in 1936.[5]

Before the Olympics, Balter played college basketball at UCLA and for an amateur basketball team sponsored by Universal Pictures.

Balter later turned his celebrity into a career as a Los Angeles sportscaster, announcing at radio station KLAC from 1946 to 1962, and starting his TV career on a local station in 1950. He was known as the "voice of UCLA football and basketball" and also wrote sports columns for the Los Angeles Herald-Express.[6][7]

Balter was the broadcast announcer for the Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association before the ABA-NBA merger.[8] He also appeared in a number of movies and television shows, always portraying a radio announcer or sportscaster.

He is a member of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the Southern California Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame.[3][3]

Personal lifeEdit

Balter was married and had a daughter. He died as a result of complications from abdominal surgery on August 8, 1998.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Sam Balter Bio, Stats, and Results | Olympics at
  2. ^ Sam Balter: His Life and Times - Barbara Balter Kahn - Google Books
  3. ^ a b c Sam Balter
  4. ^ Kahn, Carrie (August 8, 2008). "My Jewish Grandpa's Triumph At Hitler's Olympics". Retrieved August 3, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Nazi Olympics (Berlin 1936)—Jewish Athletes; Olympic Medalists". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "UCLA Hall of Famer Sam Balter Dead at 88". Los Angeles Times. August 10, 1998. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Los Angeles Radio People, Where are They Now? – B. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  8. ^ Los Angeles Stars Team Memories at

External linksEdit