Game centers

The Holocaust, a basketball legacy and an unprecedented American dream

When: Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Time: 7:00 p.m.

The Annual Abram Matlofsky Memorial Program

Author Dan Grünfeld in conversation with Craig KarmazinCEO of Good Karma Brands and grandson of Abram Matlofsky

From Nazi hands to the top of the Olympic podium, from cheap seats to Madison Square Garden’s center stage, from yellow stars to silver spoons, this complex tale travels the spectrum of human experience to detail how perseverance, love, and the legacy can survive through the generations. In his new book, Dan Grunfeld shares his family’s story, an intertwining tale that spans from his grandparents’ flight from Hungary to his grandmother’s Hungarian cooking to his father’s days on the road with the Milwaukee Bucks and NY Knicks. Dan’s father, Ernie, was bullied as an immigrant while secretly honing his basketball skills on New York courts. He eventually achieved success as a professional basketball player and executive, serving as general manager of the New York Knicks.


Grunfeld DanDan Grunfeld is a former professional basketball player, accomplished writer, and Stanford University graduate. An All-American and All-Conference varsity basketball selection at Stanford, Dan played professionally for eight seasons in top leagues around the world, including Germany, Spain and Israel. Dan’s writing has been published over 40 times in media such as Sports Illustrated, The post of Jerusalemand BNC News. Dan earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2017. By the grace of the game is his first published book.

KarmazinCraig Karmazin is the Founder and CEO of Good Karma Brands (GKB), a Wisconsin-based media and marketing company specializing in harnessing the power of sports to build brands. GKB owns and operates five ESPN-affiliated stations as well as numerous Wisconsin-based radio stations, and produces the Wisconsin Sports Awards. In 2014, Craig became a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise. He is a trustee of the Karma Foundation and grandson of Abram Matlofsky. He also sits on the boards of Milwaukee College Prep, Dodge Health Foundation and Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland. He is the founder of the Children’s Radiothon in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, which has raised over $2 million for local children’s charities. His many awards include Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40; Advertisement Age 30 Under 30; Milwaukee Business Journal’s list of the most influential people in sports; and his alma mater presented him with an Emory University Entrepreneur Award in the media and entertainment category.


Learn more about Ernie Grunfeld:

Ernie GrünfeldErnie Grünfeld, the son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. He was an NBA player for nine years, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Kansas City Kings, and then, finally, the New York Knicks. After retiring from playing, he served as an assistant coach for the Knicks before being promoted to director of administration. After seventeen seasons with the Knicks, he was named general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks. He later served as president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards and was widely considered one of the NBA’s most senior executives.


Top image: Ernie Grunfeld with his daughter and son at the 1993 press conference announcing his promotion to vice president and general manager of the New York Knicks (AP Images/book ‘By the Grace of the Game’)