NBA's First-Ever Scorer Dies

Ossie Schechtman was 94
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2013 12:22 AM CDT
In this Oct. 31, 1996, photo, former Toronto Huskies players try to steal the ball from former New York Knick Ossie Schectman, the first person to ever score a basket in the NBA.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh, File)

(Newser) – A piece of NBA history has died with Ossie Schectman, the man who scored the first basket in the league's first game. Schectman, a New York Knick, scored against the Toronto Huskies on November 1, 1946, at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. "I scored on a two-handed underhand layup, which was the standard chippy shot back then," he told ESPN in a 2003 interview. "I also remember being on the receiving end of a give-and-go, but I can't remember who I received the pass from." The Knicks won 68-66.

Like the Huskies, Schectman only lasted one season in the NBA. He worked as a garment salesman in New York for decades but was remembered in 1988 when the Utah Jazz's Ricky Green scored the NBA's 5 millionth point. He featured prominently in The First Basket, a documentary about Jewish basketball players, and once told an interviewer that he wasn't jealous of how much modern players make, despite making just $9,000 in his season with the Knicks, the New York Times reports. But "I wish I could have known how to do a crossover dribble," he said. "That really looks like a lot of fun." (Read more Ossie Schectman stories.)

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