Schectman, Ossie : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Schectman, Ossie

Oscar B. Schectman

Schectman was a member of the New York Knicks who scored the first-ever basket in the history of the NBA (the league was then known as the Basketball Association of America) on Nov. 1, 1946. The bucket was scored against the Toronto Huskies and the game was won by the Knicks 68-66. Ossie played his college ball at Long Island University, was a member of the 1939 National Championship team, and was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 30, 1919

Career Highlights:
In 1939, Schectman was a member of LIU's undefeated NIT and national championship team. They went 21-0 in the regular season and defeated New Mexico A&M, Bradley, and Loyola (Illinois) in the NIT. Ossie averaged 4.7 points per game in the tournament. In 1940, LIU returned to the NIT with a record of 19-3 but lost 45-39 in the first round to DePaul; Schectman scored 10 points in the game. In 1941, Ossie was named Converse first team All-America. LIU won the NIT championship and finished the season 22-2; Schectman averaged 8.0 points per game in the NIT. On February 19, 2000, LIU established its Athletics Hall of Fame, and Schectman was among its inaugural class of 11 inductees. He is also a member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

After graduating LIU, Schectman joined Eddie Gottlieb's Philadelphia Sphas in the American Basketball League. The Sphas had started as a barnstorming team (their nickname stood for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association), but they joined the ABL in 1933 and thereafter, dominated the league. The Sphas won the league championship in Ossie's second season (1942-43) and the following year, he finished second in the league in scoring with 199 points (10.5 average).

Schectman remained with the Sphas until 1946 (they won another championship in 1944-45) and then joined a new league called the Basketball Association of America (predecessor of the NBA). In 1946-47 (his only year in the NBA), Schectman played in 54 games for the New York Knicks and was third in the league with 2.0 assists per game. The Knicks finished the regular season with a record of 33-27 and lost to the eventual NBA champion Philadelphia Warriors in the semifinals, 2-0. After that season, Schectman decided to abandon the NBA. He returned to the ABL, and in the 1947-48 season, he was named All-ABL first team while leading the Paterson Cresecents to the championship series. They ended up losing 2-1 to Wilkes-Barre.

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Career Dates:
Schectman played both guard and forward at Long Island University between 1938-1941. He played in the ABL for the Philadelphia Sphas, from 1941-1946 and with Paterson (1947-48). He also played in the NBA for the New York Knicks in 1946-47.

Physical description:
6'1 1/2", 175 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 54
Points: 435
Points Per Game: 8.1

Field Goals Made: 162
Field Goals Attempted: 588
Field Goal Percentage: .276

Free Throws Made: 111
Free Throws Attempted: 179
Free Throw Percentage: .620

Rebounds: not available
Assists: 109
Assists Per Game: 2.0
Personal Fouls: 115

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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)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)