Ossie Schechtman, Jewish Basketball Star, Dies at 94

Scored First Basket in NBA Precursor

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By JTA

Published July 31, 2013.
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Ossie Schectman, who scored the first basket in the league that would become the NBA, has died.

Schectman, a New York native who made the historic layup while playing for his hometown Knicks, died Tuesday. He was 94.

The Knicks were playing the Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946 in the first game of the Basketball Association of America, a forerunner of the National Basketball Association, when Schechtman scored on a fast break.

“It was a simple give-and-go,” Schectman recalled in a 1997 NPR story, according to Deadspin. “It was one of those fast breaks, pass the ball, went to the basket, got a return pass.” Schechtman, a 6-foot guard from Kew Gardens in Queens, starred at Long Island University, guiding the Blackbirds to an undefeated 1938-39 season and titles in the NIT and NCAA tournaments.

In 1998, Shechtman was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He was the subject of the 2008 documentary film “The First Basket,” which chronicles the Jewish roots of basketball.


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