Senda Berenson, Mother of Women’s Basketball

Senda Berenson (Valvrojenski), the first woman inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame, died on this date in 1954. Known as “The Mother of Women’s Basketball,” she was the first physical education instructor at Smith College, and in 1893 she conducted the first women’s basketball game — sophomores against freshmen. Six years later, she modified […]

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Of Hoops and Hebrews

HOW JEWS CHANGED BASKETBALL by Mikhail Horowitz   Discussed in This Essay: The Chosen Game: A Jewish Basketball History, by Charley Rosen. University of Nebraska Press, 2017, 208 pages.  Seven-foot Jews in the NBA, slam-dunking! My alarm clock rings.     —Anonymous haiku on the Internet   FOR THE MOST PART the Jewish hoopers chronicled by Charley Rosen […]

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Orthodox Point Guard Naama Shafir

Naama Shafir scored a career high forty points on this date in 2011 to lead her basketball team, the University of Toledo Rockets, to a National Invitational Tournament title. A native of Hoshaya, Israel, Shafir was the first female Orthodox Jew to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship. Her school and team accommodated her needs […]

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May 19: Dolph Schayes

Star 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 […]

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July 30: Two Points!

Ossie Schectman, who scored the very first basket in the Basketball Association of America’s very first game on November 1, 1946, died at 94 on this date in 2013. The Basketball Association would become the NBA three years later. Schectman, only six feet tall, was team captain and point guard with the New York Knicks […]

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September 20: Red Auerbach

Red Auerbach (Arnold Jacob Auerbach), the coach of the Boston Celtics who drafted the first black player in the National Basketball Association, Chuck Cooper, in 1950, and then fielded the first all-black starting line-up in 1964, was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on this date in 1917. Auerbach was a stand-out college basketball player who developed […]

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January 7: Saperstein’s Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters, owned and supervised by the British-born Abe Saperstein, played their first game on this date in 1927 in Hinckley, Illinois. Saperstein introduced the razzle-dazzle play and comedic tricks that made the Globetrotters the most famous barnstorming professional sports team in the world. At 5’5″, he is probably the shortest inductee into the […]

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February 16: Women's Basketball

Senda Berenson, the first woman inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame, died on this date in 1954. Known as “The Mother of Women’s Basketball,” she was the first physical education instructor at Smith College, and in 1893 she conducted the first women’s basketball game — sophomores against freshmen. Six years later she modified the […]

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