mahoney ken
Ken Mahoney

  • Helped invent the “Toss Back” training device used throughout the world to train players at all levels
  • Mahoney’s snap-back rims continue to be used universally for basketball
  • Redesigned backboards at the request of NBA and NCAA to its current configuration to prevent players from banging their heads on the bottom of the backboards
Mahoney, Ken
Inducted 2009

Born: August 24, 1924 – Dorrance, Kansas

Died: January 31, 2010 – Dorrance, Kansas

Graduated: Dorrance H.S., 1942; Kansas State University, 195

Overview

Basketball may not be the game it is today without the genius and ingenuity of Kenneth James Mahoney of Dorrance, Kansas.

Toss Back Training Device

One of sport’s most respected and accomplished innovators, Mahoney helped invent the “Toss Back” training device used throughout the world to train players at all levels. The Toss Back ball return allowed players to practice hand-eye coordination and to practice on an individual basis. The Toss Back continues to be in use in at all levels of basketball.

Creation of Breakaway Rims

The rise of the slam dunk in the late 1970s and the backboard-shattering Chocolate Thunder Tour of Darryl Dawkins led the National Basketball Association to ask Mahoney to develop breakaway rims to prevent the shattering of backboards from dunking. Mahoney’s snap-back rims continue to be used universally for basketball. He also redesigned backboards at the request of NBA and NCAA to its current configuration to prevent players from banging their heads on the bottom of the backboards.

Athletic Achievements

Mahoney also excelled on the basketball court. He played three season at Kansas State University and was a member of the Wildcats’ 1948 Final Four team, which was coached by fellow Kansas Sports Hall of Famers Jack Gardner and Tex Winter. Mahoney also coached basketball in his hometown of Dorrance.


Click here to see Ken's Kansas Sports Hall of Fame induction speech