Friends and family are mourning the loss of an NBA pioneer with ties to Philadelphia.Ossie Schectman died Tuesday morning, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley. Schectman was 94-years-old. He is also the man credited with scoring the first basket in NBA history.
Born in Queens, New York in 1919, Schectman played for the Philadelphia Sphas, an acronym for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association, from 1941 to 1946 in the American Basketball League. He then signed with the New York Knicks also in 1946 in the Basketball Association of America which would eventually become the NBA.
On November 1, 1946, during the opening game of the BAA against the Toronto Huskies, Schectman scored the opening basket for the Knicks, a two-handed layup. It’s widely regarded as the first basket in NBA history.
The pivotal NBA moment as well as his basketball career was featured in the documentary film The First basket. He was indicted into the National Jewish Sports hall of Fame in 1998. A 6-foot point guard, Schectman averaged 8.1 points and two assists in one season with the Knicks.