Boardman was a star at New York University in the 1930s, then played professionally in the American Basketball League. He was one of the league's top scorers and played for seven teams in his ten-year career. At the time, the ABL was the top professional league in the East and one of only two major leagues in the United States (the other was the National Basketball League which was based in the Midwest. but larger in scope than the ABL).
Birth and Death Dates:
Before becoming a professional star in the ABL, Boardman enjoyed a terrific college career as a forward for New York University in the 1930s. In 1936, as a sophomore, he joined the defending National Champions with Jewish players Willie Rubenstein, Milt Schulman, King Kong Klein, Len Maidman, and fellow sophomore Irwin Witty. That season, NYU's squad was considered one of the greatest teams in history, extending its winning streak to 20-games before suddenly dropping three games in the middle of the season. Their invincibility broken, Boardman saw himself inserted into the starting line-up towards the end of the year, and the Violets finished the season with an overall record of 14-4.
In 1937, with the graduation of Rubenstein, Klein, and Maidman, Boardman became a permanent fixture in the starting line-up, but the Violets struggled during the season. With Witty ineligible for much of the season, NYU found itself thin on the frontline, despite Boardman's excellent playing. He finished as one of the top scorers in the New York Metropolitan area with 107 points, appearing in every game. NYU finished the season with an 11-6 record.
The following year, Boardman became NYUís star player, leading the Violets in scoring with 184 points (eighth in the New York Metropolitan area). NYU finished the regular season with a record of 14-6 and played in first-ever national postseason tournament, the NIT (National Invitational Tournament). With only six teams in the tournament, NYU advanced to the semifinals by defeating Long Island University in the first round, 39-37. They then lost 48-47 in the semifinals to Colorado, and 37-24 to Oklahoma A&M in the consolation game to finish in fourth place.
Boardman began his professional career in 1938 with the Troy Haymakers and finished second on the team in scoring (170 points in 27 games), but the Haymakers finished 12-21. The next year, he played for the Philadelphia Sphas (the nickname stood for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) and appeared in 27 games with them. The first place Sphas (20-13), won the ABL championship in a round-robin playoff.
Despite winning a title (the only one of his career), Boardman did not get as much playing time on the deep and experienced Philadelphia squad. He moved to the Baltimore Clippers in 1940. He played in 28 of the teamís 29 games and averaged 3.1 points per game (the same as with the Sphas), but the Clippers missed the playoffs. After playing 10 games with the Trenton Tigers in 1941-42, Boardman played for the fifth team in his five-year career when he played five games for the ABL-franchised New York Jewels in 1942-43. The Jewels finished last with a pathetic 1-6 record. The ABL had only five teams that year as the league struggled to survive during World War II.
Boardman missed the 1943-44 season, but returned the following year as a rejuvenated player and became of the ABLís best scorers. In 1944-45, Boardman played for the Wilmington Bombers and finished tied for third in the league with 255 points (9.1 average). The Bombers finished third in the league with a record of 14-14 and were eliminated from the playoffs by the Sphas. The following year, Boardman continued to show off his scoring prowess by finishing eighth in the league with 360 points (11.3 average) for the last-place Paterson Crescents. In 1946-47, he remained with the Crescents (the only time in his career that Boardman remained with a team for more than one season), and the team finished fourth in the Northern Division (the ABL expanded from 6 teams to 10 that year) with a record of 11-23. He finished fourth in the league with 412 points (12.9 average).
In the 1947-48 season, Boardman returned to the Sphas, the team with whom he had won his sole championship, and played in 9 games that year (4.9 points per game) before he retired from the ABL. He finished as the 19th all-time leading scorer in league history with 1,027 points.
Boardman played forward at NYU from 1936-38 and then played in the ABL for the Troy Haymakers in 1938-39, with the Philadelphia Sphas in 1939-40, for the Baltimore Clippers in 1940-41, for the Trenton Tigers in 1941-42, with the New York Jewels in 1942-43, the Wilmington Bombers in 1944-45, for the Paterson Crescents from 1945-47, and returned to the Sphas in 1947-48.
Use links below to navigate through the basketball section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)
New York Times, March 15, 1937
New York Times, March 7, 1938