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Ossie Schectman

Ossie Schectman
Schectman in 1946
Personal information
Born (1919-03-30)March 30, 1919
Queens, New York
Died July 30, 2013(2013-07-30) (aged 94)
Delray Beach, Florida
Nationality American
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Career information
High school Samuel J. Tilden
(Brooklyn, New York)
College LIU Brooklyn (1938–1941)
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Career history
1941–1946 Philadelphia Sphas
1946–1947 New York Knicks
1947–1948 Paterson Crescents
Career highlights and awards

Oscar Benjamin "Ossie" Schectman (March 30, 1919 – July 30, 2013) was an American professional basketball player. He is credited with having scored the first basket in the National Basketball Association (NBA), at that time the Basketball Association of America.

Early life and career

Schectman was born on March 30, 1919, in Kew Gardens in Queens, New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He had four siblings.[1] He played basketball while attending Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York, and played under coach Clair Bee at Long Island University. He was a member of the team in 1939, when they won the National Invitation Tournament and National Championship.[2] He was named to the Converse All-American first team in 1941.[3]

Philadelphia Sphas

After obtaining his degree from LIU, Schectman played for Eddie Gottlieb's Philadelphia Sphas in the American Basketball League.[2] The Sphas joined the ABL in 1933 and won the league championship in 1942–43. He was second in the league in scoring with 199 points (10.5 average) in 1943–44. He played with the Sphas until 1946, when he joined the New York Knicks of the Basketball Association of America.[4][5]

New York Knickerbockers

On November 1, 1946, in the first ever game of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), Schectman made the first basket when the Knicks played the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. The Knicks won the game 68–66. In 1949, the league expanded and became the National Basketball Association (NBA); thus, Schectman's basket is considered the first in NBA history.[6] Schectman played 54 games for the Knicks in his one season with the team.[4] In that one season, Schectman avreged 8.1 points per game, a lot for someone in those days. This helped him have the highest win share for his team. Schectman ended his BAA career with 435 points.

Paterson Crescents

Schectman joined the Paterson Crescents of the ABL. The team won the league championship in 1947–48, and Schectman was named to the All-ABL first team.[4]

Halls of Fame

Schectman appears in a documentary film The First Basket. He was made a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998[7] and the Long Island University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.[4]


On July 30, 2013, Schectman died at age 94 in Delray Beach, Florida. He was survived by his wife, Evelyn, and his sons Stewart and Peter.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.’s First Scorer, Dies at 94". NY Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (July 30, 2013), "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.’s First Scorer, Dies at 94", The New York Times 
  3. ^ "LIU Brooklyn to honor Knick who scored the first basket in NBA history". Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Schectman, Ossie". Jews in Sports. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Do you know who scored THE FIRST BASKET in the NBA?". November 1, 1946. Archived from the original on June 25, 2003. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Story". The First Basket. November 1, 1946. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ossie Schectman at the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

External links