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Ossie Schectman, NBA's First Scorer With NY Knicks, Dies at 94

Image: Ossie Schectman, NBA's First Scorer With NY Knicks, Dies at 94

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 09:21 AM

Ossie Schectman, the man credited with scoring the first basket in a National Basketball Association game, died Tuesday, said the league.

Oscar B. Schectman, 94, died after developing complications related to respiratory failure, his son Peter told The Associated Press.

Schectman, a 6-foot tall point guard, scored his historic basket as a member of the New York Knicks, in the league's first game against the Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946, reported USA Today. Schectman played one season with the Knicks, averaging 8.1 points and 2.0 assists a game in the 1946-47 season.

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Schectman scored his opening basket, a layup after cutting down the center of the lane, when the league was still known as the Basketball Association of America, according to the AP. The Knicks won at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens 68-66.

A native New Yorker, Schectman played collegiately at Long Island University where he won two National Invitational Tournament titles in 1939 and 1941, when the NIT was the premiere collegiate post season tournament. He played in various semipro leagues, including the South Philly Hebrew Association before joining the Knicks.

"Ossie Schectman was a true NBA pioneer," NBA Commissioner David Stern said to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press said Schectman's role in NBA history was lost for decades. Peter Schectman said on Tuesday that he was not aware of his father's historic basket until the league researched some of its scoring milestones in 1988 when Utah's Rickey Green scored the league's 5,000,000th point.

"Growing up with him, I never heard him mention it," Peter Schectman said the AP. "He probably didn't concentrate on it. He was the captain of the team and the idea was to win ballgames. It wasn't discussed that much. He certainly never boasted about it, but when the time came up and it was brought into the light, it was thrilling for him."

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The New York City Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Schectman in 1994 and he was a central figure in the documentary "The First Basket," detailing Jewish basketball history, according to the AP. Schectman worked in the garment industry after his basketball career retired to Florida. He returned to the New York area a few years ago, his son said.

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