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The First Basket

A century of social change
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 4, 2007
070403_inside_firstbasket
BOXED OUT: David Vyorst's basketball documentery just misses the three.

How many active Jewish players in the NBA can you name? The last one was Dan Schayes (son of ’50s Syracuse Nationals star Dolph Schayes), who retired in 1999. Nonetheless, the first basket sunk in the BAA (one of the NBA’s two forerunners) came from New York Knick Ossie Schectman in 1946. Schectman is one of many old-timers David Vyorst interviews in this opening film of Brandeis’s Jewishfilm.2007 festival, a brisk history of the sport that got its start in tough Jewish neighborhoods and whose early course coincided with the wave of Jewish immigrants that entered America from the 1880s to World War I. Stocked with well-selected archival material and engaging talking heads (even the academics are colorful), The First Basket relates a century of social change in a microcosm. The only flaw is that it shrugs off some tough questions, like why are there no Jews playing today? According to the late Red Auerbach, Jews grew affluent, moved to Long Island and played golf and tennis because it was “good for business.”
  Topics: Reviews , Sports, Basketball, Brandeis University,  More more >
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