March 30, 1919|
Queens, New York
July 30, 2013 (aged 94)|
Delray Beach, Florida
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||175 lb (79 kg)|
Samuel J. Tilden|
(Brooklyn, New York)
|College||LIU Brooklyn (1938-1941)|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|1946-1947||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
Oscar Benjamin "Ossie" Schectman (March 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).
Schectman was born on March 30, 1919, in Kew Gardens in Queens, New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. He had four siblings. He played basketball 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. He was named to the Converse All-American first team in 1941.
After obtaining his degree from LIU, Schectman played for Eddie Gottlieb's Philadelphia Sphas in the American Basketball League. 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.
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. Schectman played 54 games for the Knicks in his one season with the team. In that one season, Schectman averaged 8.1 points per game, ranking 39th in the league. This helped him have the highest win share for his team. Schectman ended his BAA career with 435 points.
He was made a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Long Island University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. Schectman appeared in the 2008 documentary film The First Basket.