Tommy Jones, Former Ownership Partners Mike Slade, Rob Glaser Inducted into PBA Hall of Fame

by Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association 0

ARLINGTON, Texas (Jan. 18, 2020) – Nineteen-time Professional Bowlers Association title winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and former PBA ownership partners Mike Slade and Rob Glaser were inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Arlington Hilton Saturday as part of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic tournament week.

Jones was unanimously elected for superior performance by an elite panel of veteran bowling writers and PBA Hall of Famers. Slade and Glaser were elected for meritorious service by the PBA Hall of Fame Board.

Jones is one of five PBA players to win both PBA Rookie (2001-02) and Player of the Year (2005-06) honors. During his 20-year career, Jones won 17 standard PBA Tour titles plus two majors: the 2006 U.S. Open and 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions. He has finished in the top 10 in annual PBA Tour earnings nine times and has finished in the top five in 47 of the 326 PBA Tour tournaments he entered, cashing in a remarkable 80.3 percent of those events.

Jones also has been on winning teams in PBA League Elias Cup competition three times and was the recipient of the PBA League Mark Roth Most Valuable Player Award in 2017.

“Even though it’s been a couple of months since I received the news that I was elected I knew it was going to be very emotional to receive this honor here,” Jones said, “It’s still going to take some time for it to sink in.

“Getting paid to throw a bowling ball was my dream and I have to thank everyone who has supported me during my career that made it possible for me to be here today,” he added. “I consider myself to be very fortunate to be a Hall of Famer and still be competitive but I have a job to do. I want to get 25 titles.”

The 41-year-old power player hopes to add to his list of career milestones when he tries for his 20th career tour win as the No. 2 seed for the PBA Hall of Fame Classic finals which will air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.

Jones counted his major titles and selection to the top 50 players in PBA history as defining moments in his career.

“The U.S. Open title was big and being selected No. 30 among the top 50 players in PBA history (in 2009) as the youngest one (age 30) also was pretty cool for me,” Jones said. “The U.S. Open was defining because I bowled so bad the previous year. The Tournament of Champions also was a great win because that’s the one title every PBA member wants to win.”

Slade and Glaser joined their original PBA ownership partner, Chris Peters, in the PBA Hall of Fame. All three were former Microsoft executives who combined resources to purchase the PBA in 2000, pulling the organization back from the brink of bankruptcy, and providing the organization with leadership from their board of directors positions and the financial support necessary to remain viable until its recent sale to Bowlero Corp.

Slade's creativity and contacts at ESPN and with leaders in sports media were key assets in advancing the PBA brand and opening doors with new partners including FOX Sports. 

Slade began his career at Microsoft in 1983 and spent seven years there in a variety of product marketing roles. In 1993 he was hired as CEO of Starwave, Paul Allen's trailblazing venture into the Internet and multimedia where he launched ESPN.comNBA.comNFL.comNASCAR.comABCNews.com and the Go.com network. He retired as Chairman and CEO of Starwave following its sale to the Walt Disney Corp. in 1998.
 
After later serving as strategic advisor for Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, and as a strategic consultant for ESPN, NBA.comNFL.com, Starbucks, Real Networks, Disney, and various Paul Allen companies, Slade co-founded the venture capital firm Second Avenue Partners in 2000 and became a co-owner and board member of the PBA.

“When you’re around people who are the best it’s really inspiring,” Slade said during his acceptance speech. “It’s an honor to be around the best as we celebrate excellence here tonight and I’m so grateful and humbled by this honor.

“Some things we did went well and others didn’t,” Slade continued. “We learned a lot and had good people helping us get it done. When you’re an underdog you have to be scrappy and try things and that’s what we did.”

Glaser, a New York City native, was the PBA's principle investor financially, largely funding the early 2000's efforts to boost prize funds, regulate TV exposure and further explore arena settings. After a 10-year career in a variety of positions with Microsoft, Glaser founded RealNetworks in 1994, a company that produces RealAudioRealVideoRealPlayer, and Helix, among other products and services. A Yale graduate with degrees in Computer Science and Economics, Glaser has also been a major donor supporting a wide range of humanitarian causes throughout his career.

“I believe the most rewarding part of our involvement with PBA was getting it to a point where it could stand on its own, build on the success we were able to achieve and then pass it on to a new generation,” Glaser said. “Twenty years after we started it is stunning to me that I’m here to receive this honor.

“My good friend Chris Peters got me involved in what he called an effort to save the PBA,” Glaser added. “I got involved in bowling at a young age, became a lifelong bowler and the love of bowling never left me so I was happy to get involved.”

Also recognized during the ceremonies were 2019 award winners including Australia’s Jason Belmonte, who earned his fifth Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year award; Harry Golden Rookie of the Year Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tennessee; Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Martin Larsen of Sweden, who became the first international player to win the award twice, and Tony Reyes Community Service Award winner Chuck Gardner of Charlotte, North Carolina.

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