Fleishman, Jerry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Fleishman, Jerry

Jerome Fleishman

A member of the NYU Athletics Hall of Fame and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, Fleishman was an All-America forward at NYU (New York University) before joining the Philadelphia Warriors in 1947 when they won the first-ever NBA championship. The other Jewish members of the Warriors that year were players Petey Rosenberg, and Ralph Kaplowitz, head coach (and owner), Eddie Gottlieb, and assistant coach, Cy Kaselman.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Feb. 14, 1922

Career Highlights:
Fleishman was an excellent forward for the NYU Violets in the mid-1940s. In 1943, Fleishman was named second team All-America and second team All-Metropolitan as he helped lead the Violets to a record of 16-4 and a berth in the NCAA tournament (the first time a New York City team played in the NCAA). In the East Regional Semifinal, Fleishman was held to only two points as NYU lost to Georgetown, 55-36. In the East consolation game, he was held in check again (six points) as the Violets fell to Dartmouth, 51-49. The following year, NYU had a mediocre season and finished with a record of 9-8.

After completing his collegiate career, Fleishman immediately turned professional with the Philadelphia Sphas of the American Basketball League, the top pro league in the East at the time. The Sphas (the nickname stood for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association), began as a barnstorming team in the early 1920s, but had dominated the ABL during the 1930s and early 1940s. In 1944, Fleishman played in seven games and averaged 5.3 points for the Sphas, who made it to the championship before losing to the Wilmington Bombers. He played sparingly for the Sphas over the next two seasons, appearing in only eight games as Philadelphia won the league title in 1945, but lost in the championship in 1946.

In 1946-47, Fleishman joined the Philadelphia Warriors of the newly-formed Basketball Association of America (the forerunner of the NBA). At the time, the BAA, which had national aspirations, was considered just another pro league; it took only three years for it to become the dominant league in the sport. That season, Fleishman played in 59 games and averaged 4.5 points per game for the Warriors (owned and coached by Sphas founder Eddie Gottlieb), which finished second in the Eastern Division with a record of 35-25. In the playoffs, the Warriors defeated St. Louis (2-1) and New York (2-0) to reach the NBA Finals. In the Finals, Jerry scored 16 points in Game 2 and helped lead the Warriors to a 4-1 series win over the Max Zaslofsky-led Chicago Stags to capture the first-ever NBA championship!

The following year, Fleishman was a member of the Eastern Division champion Warriors (27-21) who returned to the NBA Finals to face the Baltimore Bullets (a team 'called up' from the ABL). After winning Game 1, the Warriors blew a 41-20 halftime lead in Game 2 and lost, 66-63. That contest was the turning point of the series and the Bullets defeated Fleishman and the Warriors in the series, 4-2. As Fleishman continued his career with the Warriors, the BAA began its quest for domination in professional basketball. Franchises from the National Basketball League (NBL, a pro league based in the Midwest) moved to the BAA; the teams included the Minneapolis Lakers, the first dynasty in NBA history. By 1949-50, the BAA had merged with (or been swallowed by) the NBL and had become the NBA.

Following the 1949-50 season, Fleishman returned to the nearly-defunct ABL and played with the Scranton Miners. He was third on the team in scoring with 388 points (10.8 average) as the Miners finished 26-8. They won the championship based on their regular season first-place finish. Fleishman played the next two seasons with Scranton in the ABL, but also returned to the NBA for a final season in 1952-53; he played with both the Warriors and New York Knicks that season.

New York

Career Dates:
Fleishman played forward at NYU from 1942-1944. He played in the ABL with the Philadelphia Sphas from 1943-46, and for Scranton from 1950-1953. He also played in the NBA with the Philadelphia Warriors from 1946-1950, and again in 1953; and for the New York Knicks in the 1952-53 season.

Physical description:
6'2", 190 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 262
Points: 1,512
Points Per Game: 5.8

Field Goals Made: 541
Field Goals Attempted: 1,953
Field Goal Percentage: .277

Free Throws Made: 430
Free Throws Attempted: 674
Free Throw Percentage: .638

Rebounds: 152
Rebounds Per Game: 4.6
Assists: 429
Assists Per Game: 1.6

Personal Fouls: 607
Disqualifications: 7 (incomplete record)

NBA playoffs:
Games: 22
Points: 105
Points Per Game: 4.5

Field Goals Made: 37
Field Goals Attempted: 131
Field Goal Percentage: .282

Free Throws Made: 31
Free Throws Attempted: 49
Free Throw Percentage: .633

Rebounds: not available
Assists: 19
Assists Per Game: 0.9

Personal Fouls: 45
Disqualifications: 3 (incomplete record)

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Official NBA Encyclopedia: Third Edition, edited by Jan Hubbard (New York: Doubleday, 2000)

http:// www.nyu.edu/