|Shooting guard / Small forward|
March 30, 1919|
Queens, New York
|Died||July 30, 2013
Delray Beach, Florida
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|High school||Samuel J. Tilden
(Brooklyn, New York)
|College||Long Island (1938–1941)|
|1946–1947||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
Oscar Benjamin "Ossie" Schectman (March 30, 1919 – July 30, 2013) was an American professional basketball player. He is credited with having scored the very first basket in the National Basketball Association (NBA), at that time the Basketball Association of America.
Schectman began his playing career at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York. He later played both guard and forward at Long Island University under coach Clair Bee. He was a member of the undefeated 1939 NIT and National Championship team. In 1941, he was named Converse first team All-America.
After graduating from 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 his second season (1942–43), and the following year, he finished second in the league in scoring with 199 points (10.5 average). He 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).
New York Knickerbockers
On November 1, 1946, in the first ever game of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), Schectman made the opening basket for the New York Knicks against the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. The Knicks won the game 68–66. In 1949, the BAA became the National Basketball Association (NBA); thus, Schectman's basket is considered the first in NBA history.
In 1946–47 (his only year in the NBA), Schectman played in 54 games for the Knicks and was third in the league with 2.0 assists per game.
After his one 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 Crescents to the championship series.
Halls of Fame
Schectman is prominently featured in the documentary film The First Basket, about Jewish basketball history. He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Long Island University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.
Schectman was born on March 30, 1919, in Kew Gardens in Queens, New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He had four siblings. On July 30, 2013, Schectman died at age 94 in Delray Beach, Florida. He was survived by his wife, Evelyn, and his sons Stewart and Peter.
- Goldstein, Richard (July 30, 2013), "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.’s First Scorer, Dies at 94", The New York Times
- "LIU BROOKLYN TO HONOR KNICK WHO SCORED THE FIRST BASKET IN NBA HISTORY". liu.edu. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Do you know who scored THE FIRST BASKET in the NBA?". Thefirstbasket.com. November 1, 1946. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
- "The Story". The First Basket. November 1, 1946. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "Oscar Schectman". infotanica.com. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Schectman, Ossie". jewsinsports.org. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.’s First Scorer, Dies at 94". NY Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013.