NBA's First-Ever Scorer Dies

Ossie Schechtman was 94

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 12:22 AM CDT

(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."

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)
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