SCHECTMAN--Oscar (Ossie). The National Basketball Association mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Oscar "Ossie" Schectman, the player credited with scoring the first basket in NBA history, an original New York Knickerbocker and the team's first captain. Schectman passed away Tuesday, July 30. He was 94. On November 1, 1946, the 6-0 guard, who had signed with his hometown team in the fledgling Basketball Association of America (BAA) the predecessor to the NBA was on the court in Toronto for the tip off of the league's inaugural game between the Knickerbockers and Toronto Huskies. Moments after the tip, Schectman entered the history books, scoring the league's first basket on an underhand layup. He finished the game with 11 points in a 68-66 New York victory. Schectman appeared in 54 games for the Knicks in 1946-47, his lone season in the league. He averaged 8.1 points and ranked third overall with 2.0 assists per game. He began his professional basketball career in the American Basketball League (ABL), playing five seasons for the Philadelphia Sphas from 1941-46. Following his one-year stint in the BAA, Schectman returned to the ABL as a member of the Paterson Crescents. Born on May 30, 1919, in New Brunswick, NJ, Schectman starred at Brooklyn's Samuel J. Tilden High School and at Long Island University. At LIU, he was a member of the 1939 NIT championship team, and earned Converse First Team All-America honors in 1941, leading LIU to another NIT title. Schectman was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Long Island University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. The NBA family has lost a true pioneer and we send our condolences to the entire Schectman family. He is survived by his sister Sunny, sons Peter and Stu, sister-in-law Dorothy, daughters-in-law Rotha and Lauren, and grandchildren Imani and Alex, as well as several nieces and nephews. His wife Evelyn, with whom he was married 70 years, preceded him in death. Services will be held Friday at Schwartz Brothers Jeffer Memorial Chapel on 114-03 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, N.Y., 11375.
Published in The New York Times on Aug. 1, 2013