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May 19: Dolph Schayes

May 18, 2016

i-1Star basketball player and coach Adolph “Dolph” Schayes was born in the Bronx on this date in 1928. Schayes played his entire 16-year career (1948-64) with the Syracuse Nationals and their successor team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and led his team into the league playoffs fifteen times. In 1966, he was NBA Coach of the Year (still with the 76ers). Standing 6′8″ — quite tall for his era — Schayes nevertheless relied on a very accurate outside set-shot as well as a forceful drive to the basket for his scoring; his outside shots arced so high that his teammates called it the Sputnik. He was one of the last basketball pros to use a two-handed set-shot as he watched his fellow players develop one-handed jump shots. When he retired, Schayes held the NBA records for games played (996) and foul shots made (6,712) and attempted (7,904), and was second in scoring (18,438) and third in rebounds (11,256). Schayes was active as a coach in the Maccabiah Games in 1977 and 1993. He died at 87 in 2015. To see him in action, look below.

“[A] seminal figure in the game... with a deadly two-handed, high-arcing set shot that he stubbornly used well into the era of the jump shot, he helped redefine the big man in the NBA.” —ESPN