Oscar "Ossie" Schectman, the former New York Knicks guard who scored the first basket in NBA history, died Tuesday. He was 94.
Schectman's son Peter confirmed his father's death, which was also announced by the Knicks and paid tribute by the NBA. Peter says his dad died of complications from respiratory failure.
Sad News: Former Knick Oscar B. "Ossie" Schectman passed away this a.m. Ossie scored the first basket in @NBAHistory (11/1/46). Ossie was 94
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) July 30, 2013
Schectman scored the opening basket of a game in what was then known as the BAA on Nov. 1, 1946 for the Knicks against the Toronto Huskies.
Schectman was born in Queens, N.Y., and won two NIT titles as the point guard for Long Island University before turning pro. From Newsday's Al Iannazzone:
Schectman, a 6-foot guard played in the American Basketball League with the Philadelphia Sphas — whose nickname came from the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association — before the Knicks signed him in 1946 to play in the new Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA. [...] Schectman played just one season and 54 games with the Knicks. He averaged 8.1 points and was third in the league with 2.0 assists.
Commissioner David Stern said Tuesday in a statement that Schectman was a "pioneer." The commissioner says, "Playing for the New York Knickerbockers in the 1946-47 season, Ossie scored the league's first basket, which placed him permanently in the annals of NBA history. On behalf of the entire NBA family, our condolences go out to Ossie's family."