December 1, 2010


The Greatest: Basketball legend Dolph Schayes discusses the game’s past and present—and selects his all-time Jewish dream team (Marc Tracy, Dec 1, 2010, The Tablet)

Dolph Schayes is the greatest Jewish basketball player who ever lived and the only Jew on the National Basketball Association’s list of its top 50 players of all time. A 6’8” power forward from the Bronx with an inside game plus long-distance accuracy, he began his professional career in 1948 for the Syracuse Nationals and retired in 1964 with the same squad, which had since moved to Philadelphia and become the 76ers. Schayes made 12 All-Star teams, won the 1955 championship with the Nats, and during one period played 706 consecutive games. He also played nearly a whole season with a cast on his right wrist. Several years, he led the league in free-throw percentage; one year, he led it in rebounds. When he retired, he had scored the most points in NBA history. He was later an exceptional coach as well as the father of NBA center Danny Schayes. [...]

Now it’s time for you to select your all-time Jewish-American starting five. Let’s start with point guard. Your choices are Larry Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Barney Sedran.

I never saw Barney Sedran play, so I wouldn’t pick him. Why wouldn’t you put Red Holzman in? He was a great player.

He is one of our coaches instead.

Ah, OK. I’d have to go with Larry Brown.

OK. Next, shooting guard: Ernie Grunfeld, Inky Lautman, or Max Zaslofsky?

I think Grunfeld should be a small forward! [Note: We looked into this. There is an argument both ways.] I would have to go with Ernie Grunfeld. Zaslofsky was excellent, too.

Next: Small Forward. Jack Molinas, Art Heyman, or Lenny Rosenbluth?

Frankly, Grunfeld is better than all three. Lenny Rosenbluth didn’t have enough of a career. And of course had Molinas had a longer career and kept his nose clean, I think he would have been a great choice. In that group, I’d certainly have to go with the kid who got in trouble—Molinas. The real pick would’ve been Grunfeld.

Now, a position you should be familiar with: Power forward. Your choices are Rudy LaRusso, Amar’e Stoudemire—work with us—and, of course, Dolph Schayes.

[Laughs about Stoudemire]

You should pick yourself.

OK, that’s what I’ll do.

Center: Neal Walk, Dave Newmark, or Harry Boykoff?

Neal Walk would’ve been great, had he not gotten hurt. His career just died. Boykoff had a very little career. I would have to go with Neal Walk based on his college career.

And, finally, coaches: Nat Holman, Red Auerbach, or Red Holzman?

We could make it a three-way tie. But frankly, as a tribute to the old-timers, I would have to go with Nat Holman.

...Danny and Kiki Vandeweghe, who's father was an All American at Colgate, talked about playing for the Red Raiders together. They didn't.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2010 3:03 PM
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