Donald "Don" Goldstein grew up in the Brooklyn ghetto of Brownsville and went to Samuel J Tilden High school in New York City. His parents were both deaf and mute. After his mother died, when Don was four, his father took him and his younger brother to live with his mother-in law, the boy’s grandmother. Goldstein's grandmother was a Polish Jew who had immigrated to the United States and spoke only Yiddish. While living with his grandmother the family struggled financially and Goldstein remembers growing up in poverty, without the nice clothes and things such as TV's and radios that his classmates had.
Despite his difficult upbringing, Goldstein excelled in school and on the basketball court, where he was named to the All-City team in 1955. College scholarship offers came pouring in, and he chose to attend his local school, New York University. Right before he was due to start school; however, he was charmed and recruited by the University of Louisville in Kentucky and went there instead. Because of this, NYU accused Louisville of paying off Goldstein to switch, which would have been a violation of the code of ethics and rules of the NCAA. These accusations led the NCAA to place Louisville on probation, which limited the scholarships they could offer to Goldstein and other athletes.
Goldstein led his team to the 1959 NCAA Final Four tournament, but the team lost to the University of California, who went on to become the champions of the entire tournament. In addition to his contributions on the court, Goldstein also continued to excel in the classroom as a biology/pre-dental major.
After college, Goldstein was the first pick in the second round of the NBA draft, receiving an offer of $7,500 per year and a $500 signing bonus from the Detroit Pistons. Despite this generous offer, Goldstein decided he wanted to continue his studies and finish his dental degree. While he was in dental school and starting his own practice, Goldstein played semi-pro basketball for the supplemental income, but was no longer interested in a basketball career. Dr. Donald Goldstein dedicated his dental career to reconstructive surgeries and has practices in New York City and Del Ray, Florida.
In 1980, Goldstein was inducted into the University of Louisville Sports Hall of Fame, and his jersey was retired during an in-game ceremony on January 22, 2000. Goldstein ranks 10th in career rebounding for Louisville and scored 1,019 points during his career there. He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.