Ossie Schectman

Oscar Benjamin "Ossie" Schectman (May 30, 1919 – July 30, 2013) was an American professional basketball player. He is credited with having scored the first basket in the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which would later become the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Ossie Schectman
Ossie Schectman.jpg
Ossie Schectman in 1946
Personal information
Born(1919-05-30)May 30, 1919
Queens, New York
DiedJuly 30, 2013(2013-07-30) (aged 94)
Delray Beach, Florida
Listed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Listed weight175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High schoolSamuel J. Tilden
(Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeLIU Brooklyn (1938–1941)
Playing career1941–1948
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Career history
1941–1946Philadelphia Sphas
1946–1947New York Knicks
1947–1948Paterson Crescents
Career highlights and awards

Early life and careerEdit

Schectman was born on May 30, 1919, in Brooklyn, New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He had three siblings.[1] He played basketball and baseball while attending Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York, and played under coach Clair Bee at Long Island University. He was a member of the team in 1939, when they won the National Invitation Tournament and National Championship.[2] He was named to the Converse All-American first team in 1941.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Philadelphia Sphas (1941–1946)Edit

After obtaining his degree from LIU, Schectman played for Eddie Gottlieb's Philadelphia Sphas in the American Basketball League.[2] The Sphas joined the ABL in 1933 and won the league championship in 1942–43. He was second in the league in scoring with 199 points (10.5 average) in 1943–44. He played with the Sphas until 1946, when he joined the New York Knicks of the Basketball Association of America.[4][5]

New York Knicks (1946–1947)Edit

On November 1, 1946, in the first ever game of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), Schectman made the first basket when the Knicks played the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. The Knicks won the game 68–66. In 1949, the league expanded and became the National Basketball Association (NBA); thus, Schectman's basket is considered the first in NBA history.[6] Schectman played 54 games for the Knicks in his one season with the team. He suffered a serious internal injury in a game in Chicago in March,1947[4] In that one season, Schectman averaged 8.1 points per game, ranking 39th in the league.[7] This helped him have the highest win share for his team. Schectman ended his BAA career with 435 points.

Paterson Crescents (1947–1948)Edit

Schectman joined the Paterson Crescents of the ABL. The team won the league championship in 1947–48, and Schectman was named to the All-ABL first team.[4]

Later life and deathEdit

He was made a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998[8] and the Long Island University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.[4] Schectman appeared in the 2008 documentary film The First Basket.

On April 27, 2013, Schectman gave his very last autograph to young NBA fans who came to visit him in his home for the elderly in New City, New York. At the time of the visit Schechtman was watching the triple overtime game 4 of the first round NBA playoff series between the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets.

On July 30, 2013, Schectman died at age 94 in Delray Beach, Florida. He was survived by his sons Stewart and Peter, his sister and two grandchildren.[1]

BAA career statisticsEdit

  GP Games played
 FG%  Field-goal percentage
 FT%  Free-throw percentage
 APG  Assists per game
 PPG  Points per game

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP FG% FT% APG PPG
1946–47 New York 54 .276 .620 2.0 8.1
Career 54 .276 .620 2.0 8.1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.'s First Scorer, Dies at 94". NY Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (July 30, 2013), "Ossie Schectman, N.B.A.'s First Scorer, Dies at 94", The New York Times
  3. ^ "LIU Brooklyn to honor Knick who scored the first basket in NBA history". liu.edu. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Schectman, Ossie". Jews in Sports. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "Do you know who scored THE FIRST BASKET in the NBA?". Thefirstbasket.com. November 1, 1946. Archived from the original on June 25, 2003. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Story". The First Basket. November 1, 1946. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  7. ^ "1946-47 BAA Player Stats: Per Game | Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  8. ^ Ossie Schectman at the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

External linksEdit