(JNS.org) Oscar “Ossie” Schectman, a Jewish
player who scored the first basket in the history of what evolved into the
National Basketball Association (NBA), died Tuesday at age 94.
historic field goal came on Nov. 1, 1946 for the New York Knicks of the
Basketball Association of America (BAA)—the precursor to the NBA—against the
Toronto Huskies. The Knicks won the game, 68-66.
for the New York Knickerbockers in the 1946-47 season, Ossie scored the
league’s first basket, which placed him permanently in the annals of NBA history,”
NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire NBA
family, our condolences go out to Ossie’s family.”
Schectman’s basket would later inspire the title of “The First Basket,” a 2008
documentary about Jews and basketball from executive producer David
“The film is about the cultural history of
Jewish basketball players, not only of how they contributed to the evolution of
the NBA, but how basketball is an essential part of American Jewish history,”
Vyorst told JNS.org in June.
his only professional basketball season, 1946-47, Schectman averaged 8.1 points
and 2.0 assists per game for the Knicks. The team’s roster sported significant
Jewish flavor— Schectman’s teammates were Sonny Hertzberg, Stan Stutz,
Hank Rosenstein, Ralph Kaplowitz, Jake Weber, and Leo “Ace” Gottlieb.