Schayes, Danny : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Schayes, Danny

Daniel Leslie Schayes

Schayes played in the NBA for 18 seasons, one of the longest careers in league history. The son of the great Dolph Schayes Danny carved out his exceptionally long career in the NBA by being an unusually intelligent player who maximized his abilities and played the game astutely.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 10, 1959

Career Highlights:
In the summer following his high school graduation, Danny played on the gold medal-winning U.S. basketball team at the 1977 Maccabiah Games (coached by his father). He enrolled in Syracuse that fall and blossomed during his senior year: he averaged 14.6 points per game, and topped the Orange in rebounding with 8.4 per game. He also passed for 64 assists. That year (1981) Danny was named All-Big East first team, an All-American, and an Academic All-American. He still holds the Carrier Dome record for rebounds in a game, with 23 (against Georgetown). In the 117 games he played for Syracuse, Schayes scored 965 points (8.2), grabbed 635 rebounds (5.4) and compiled 112 assists.

In 1981, Danny was drafted in the first round by the Utah Jazz, with the 13th overall selection. He played in all 82 regular season games as a rookie, scoring 544 points (7.9) and grabbing 427 rebounds. In 1983, he was traded to the Denver Nuggets and became a solid contributor to the team.

In 1984-85, Schayes played in 56 games as the Nuggets (52-30) won the Midwest Division, but lost in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 4-1. In 1987-88, Danny played in 81 games (averaging 27 minutes), as the Nuggets again won the Midwest Division with a record of 54-28. That year, Schayes averaged 13.9 points per game and grabbed 662 rebounds, both career highs. The Nuggets lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals, 4-2. Danny averaged an excellent 16.4 points per game in the playoffs.

When Ernie Grunfeld retired in 1986, Schayes became the only Jewish player in the NBA. Asked whether there was any pressure involved as the only Jewish player, Danny said: "There's no pressure on me. I just try to play the game and have fun. I don't think anyone is expecting me to do something I'm not capable of. I like the letters I get from fans across the country. Every game, there's people cheering for me, and I appreciate that. Believe me, I see the people waving yarmulkas at me from the stands all the time, and I smile, and understand."

In the 1990s, Danny was a solid contributor to any team he was on -- he played for the Bucks, Lakers, Suns, Heat, Magic, and Timberwolves. He retired during the 1999-2000 campaign. The 2000-01 NBA season opened with no Jewish players in the league, the first time in league history this has happened. Danny played in 1138 career NBA games, the most among all Jewish players (and almost all players, period) in NBA history. He is a member of the New York Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Syracuse, New York

Career Dates:
Dan played forward at Syracuse University, 1978-1981. He played forward in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, 1981-1983, the Denver Nuggets, 1983-1990, the Milwaukee Bucks, 1990-1994, the Los Angeles Lakers, 1994, the Phoenix Suns, 1994-95, the Miami Heat, 1995-96, the Orlando Magic, 1996-1998 and the Minnesota Timberwolves, 1999.

Physical description:
6'11", 235 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 1,138
Points: 8,780
Points Per Game: 7.7

Field Goals Made: 2,994
Field Goals Attempted: 6,228
Field Goal Percentage: .481

3-Pointers Made: 4
3-Pointers Attempted: 30
3-Point Percentage: .134

Free Throws Made: 2,788
Free Throws Attempted: 3,461
Free Throw Percentage: .806

Rebounds: 5,671
Rebounds Per Game: 4.9
Assists: 1,299
Assists Per Game: 1.1
Steals: 560
Blocks: 840

Personal Fouls:

NBA playoffs:
Games: 69
Points: 541
Points Per Game: 7.8

Field Goals Made: 189
Field Goals Attempted: 365
Field Goal Percentage: .518

3-Pointers Made: 0
3-Pointers Attempted: 2
3-Point Percentage: 0.000

Free Throws Made: 163
Free Throws Attempted: 198
Free Throw Percentage: .823

Rebounds: 331
Rebounds Per Game: 4.8
Assists: 76
Assists Per Game: 1.1
Steals: 26
Blocks: 47

Personal Fouls:

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Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
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)