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Ossie Schectman

(1919 - 2013)

Oscar B. "Ossie" Schectman was a Jewish American professional basketball player.

Schectman (born March 30, 1919; died July 30, 2013) was born in Queens, New York. He was a member of the undefeated 1939 NIT and National Championship team at Long Island University. After graduating LIU, Schectman joined Eddie Gottlieb's Philadelphia Sphas (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association), in the American Basketball League. The Sphas had started as a barnstorming, but they joined the ABL in 1933 and dominated the league. The Sphas won the league championship in his second season (1942-43), and the following year, Schectman finished second in the league in scoring with 199 points (10.5 points per game).

Schectman was a member of the original New York Knickerbockers in their inaugural NBA season in 1946. He scored the first points in league history when the Knickerbockers played the first game in NBA history, against the Toronto Huskies.  After that season, Schectman decided to abandon the NBA. He returned to the ABL and in the 1947 season he lead the Paterson Crescents to the championship series and was named All-ABL first team. He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Schectman passed away in July 2013 at his home in Florida, he was 94 years old. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and two sons.

Sources: Wikipedia; ESPN