Oscar B. “Ossie” Schectman

January 10, 2012

Brooklyn Basketball Hall Of Famer Ossie Schectman


Oscar B. “Ossie” Schectman (born May 30, 1919) is a retired 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. He was born in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, United States.
Schectman began his playing career at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York City.

He later played both guard and forward at Long Island University, then a powerhouse 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 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).

Schectman 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).

On November 1, 1946, in the opening game of the fledgling Basketball Association of America (BAA), Ossie Schectman scored the opening basket for the New York Knickerbockers against the Toronto Huskies. Schectman and his teammates Sonny Hertzberg, Stan Stutz, Hank Rosenstein, Ralph Kaplowitz, Jake Weber, and Leo “Ace” Gottlieb went on to win the opening game 68–66 and finish the season with a 33–27 record. In 1949, the BAA became the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Schectman’s shot is considered the first basket in the NBA.

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