Rader played college basketball in the 1940s at Long Island University (with his twin brother, Howie Rader). He then played professionally in the American Basketball League, the National Basketball League, and the Southern Basketball League.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 29, 1921 - d. Dec. 29, 1996
Rader joined the LIU varsity team as a sophomore in 1942, the year after the Blackbirds won the NIT. That season, Lenny played guard, generally coming off the bench while his twin brother (Howie Rader) started at in the position. The Rader brothers joined junior forward Saul Cohen and fellow guard Stan Waxman, and Lenny helped lead LIU to a 24-2 regular season record and another visit to the postseason.
Ranked No. 2 in the East by the New York Times, LIU was seeded No. 1 in the NIT (National Invitational Tournament) as the defending champions. In the first round, they played No. 8 seed West Virginia, but lost the game in overtime, 58-49; Rader scored two points. Following the NIT, LIU played City College of New York in a charity game, losing to CCNY, 42-34 (Lenny started alongside his brother in the backcourt and scored four points in the game).
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Lenny and his brother Howie Rader played for the Philadelphia Sphas in the ABL (at the time, the top pro league in the East) in 1944-45. That year, Rader played in 21 games and averaged 3.1 points per game as the Sphas, with a record of 22-8, captured the league championship by defeating the Baltimore Bullets in a seven-game playoff.
In 1946-47, Rader switched leagues and moved with his brother to the Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the NBL, the top pro league based in the Midwest (this was the season the Basketball Association of American was formed. In 1949 the BAA merged with the NBL to become the NBA). That year, Tri-Cities compiled a record of 19-25 and finished fifth in the Eastern Division and out of the playoffs. Rader played in 20 games for the Blackhawks and scored 69 points. Former high school and college teammate Stan Waxman was also on the team.
In 1947-48, Rader became the player-coach for the Montgomery Rebels of the Southern Basketball League and led his team to a 43-6 regular season record and the league championship. Lenny played in 38 games and averaged 13.0 points per game, fourth best on the team. Joined by his brother Howie, Lenny Rader remained with the Rebels in 1948-49 and led them to another championship, although the league folded at the end of the 1948-49 season. That same year, Rader returned briefly to the NBL and played in 14 games for the Hammon Calumet Buccaneers, scoring 53 points as the team finished in third place in the Eastern Division with a record of 21-41. In the playoffs, they played the Syracuse Nationals (led by Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes) and lost two games to none - Rader scored five points in the series.
Rader played forward and guard at LIU from 1941-1944. He turned pro after college, playing for the Philadelphia Sphas of the ABL from 1944-46; in the NBL with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1946-47 and the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers in 1948-49. He played and coached for the Montgomery Rebels of the SBL from 1947-49.
6'1", 190 pounds
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)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
New York Times, March 29, 1942