Although he did not attend CCNY (City College of New York) on a basketball scholarship, he was an All-American in 1934 before becoming a star in the American Basketball League (one of the top professional leagues before the NBA). A member of the CCNY Athletic Hall of Fame, Goldman is considered one of the greatest Jewish players of the 1930s and 1940s.
At 6'2-1/2", he was one of the shortest centers of his era, but this allowed him more mobility than his opponents. In From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, Goldman said, "...I would say, without trying to be boastful, that I revolutionized the center position. I think I was the first center to be able to run and shoot, to dribble and pass, to do all those things..."
Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 30, 1913 - d. May 7, 1989
Unlike most other Jewish stars of the 1930s and 1940s, Goldman did not grow up playing basketball. The Brooklyn-native did not begin playing the game until he grew three inches over the summer before his junior year at Franklin K. Lane High School. Two years later, he enrolled at CCNY (City College of New York) and became one of the school's greatest players under the tutelage of legendary coach, Nat Holman. As a sophomore in 1932, Goldman joined City's varsity team and made an immediate impact as he teamed with senior captain Joe Davidoff, and junior guard Moe Spahn. Named second team All-Metropolitan at the end of the year, Goldman helped the Beavers win 16 of their 17 games and capture the mythical Eastern title (the first for City College since 1923). City was so powerful, they outscored their opponents 573-327 during the season.
The following year, Goldman, Spahn, and future CCNY Athletic Director Sam Winograd led the Beavers to another outstanding season as they repeated their Eastern title with a 13-1 record (their only loss was to St. John's, 31-28 in a tightly contested game). Goldman, who finished second on the team with 108 points (11th in the Met area), was named first-team All-Metropolitan. For his senior season (1934), Goldman was named team captain as the Beavers entered the season with high expectations and hopes for a third straight Eastern championship. As City won game after game, Goldman was praised for his play and was described as, "a splendid jumper and defensive performer...unusually shifty for a big man [6'2" or 6'3"] and in action resembles a forward more than a center..." (New York Evening Post, January 12, 1934)
The 1934 season saw the Beavers win their first 14 games of the year and run their winning streak to 20 prior to their season-ending showdown with archrival NYU (New York University). The game with NYU, which was also undefeated, was described by the press at the time as the most anticipated match-up in the history of New York City. Only days before the game, however, it seemed as if Goldman would not be a part of the festivities as he had a run-in with his coach, Nat Holman. The two mended their differences before the game and Goldman did play, but not well, as he was held to only three points in NYU's 24-18 victory. In only the third defeat of his career, Goldman saw the Eastern title go to the Violets in a game considered by many to be one of the most important in college basketball history (the interest in the game sparked the berth of double-headers at Madison Square Garden the following year). Goldman, who was named Converse second team All-America, led City College in scoring that year with 122 points, ninth overall in the Met area.
During his senior season, Goldman was approached by Eddie Gottlieb, owner of the Philadelphia Sphas (the nickname stood for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) to join the club when his college career was over; the Sphas were a former barnstorming team that had just joined the ABL and would come to dominate the league over the next fifteen years. Although he had not given much thought to playing professionally, Goldman accepted Gottlieb's offer. In fact, he wasted no time in joining his new team, and the night after his final game at CCNY, Goldman played for the Sphas in a game against the Brooklyn Jewels (the immediacy of his turning pro was the cause of his dispute with college coach Holman). Goldman went to the gym expecting to sit on the bench and was not initially allowed in the gym as a player until Gottlieb came to the door to vouch for him. Moe actually started the game at center, and remained a fixture at the position for the next 8 years.
Goldman, who was only 6'2", was named All-League center from 1934-1940 and was seventh in the league in scoring in 1940 with 241 points (6.5 average) -- he also helped lead the Sphas to championships in 1936, 1937, and 1940. While he was playing, Moe got his Master's Degree at CCNY and taught public school in New York. During the season, Goldman and teammates Shikey Gotthoffer and Red Wolfe took the train down from New York to Philadelphia on Saturday nights to play on Sunday -- they then took the train back to New York Sunday nights. Because the Sphas played on weekends, Goldman also played for Wilkes Barre in the Pennsylvania State League during the week - he slept on the train at night after games to make it back for class the next day.
Brooklyn, New York
Goldman played at CCNY, 1931-1934.
He played in the ABL with the Philadelphia Sphas, 1934-1942, and also played for Wilkes Barre in the Pennsylvania State League in 1934-1942.
6'2 1/2", 190 pounds
Use links below to navigate through the basketball section of Jews In Sports.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER IMAGES
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
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)
Ellis Island to Ebbets Field, by Peter Levine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992)
From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, by Charles Salzberg
New York Times, March 2, 1932
New York Times, March 13, 1933
New York Times, March 5, 1934