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You Tube Gold: Dolph Schayes

From long ago and far away, Dolph Schayes was present at the birth of the NBA and one its greatest early shooters

Boston Celtics v Syracuse Nationals
 SYRACUSE, NY - 1962: Dolph Schayes #4 of the Syracuse Nationals shoots the ball against the Boston Celtics circa 1962 at the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse, New York.
Photo by The Stevenson Collection/NBAE via Getty Images

Dolph Schayes is a name you don’t hear very often. A 6-8 forward from Brooklyn, Schayes was one of Syracuse’s early great players. He was drafted by both the New York Knicks, then in the BAA, and Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the NBL (the leagues would merge after the following season to create the NBA).

We assumed he ended up in Syracuse as a territorial draft pick as he grew up in Syracuse, but he got there via trade.

Schayes is interesting in several ways. First, he’s part of the great era of Jewish basketball, centered around New York City, which would peter out in the early ‘60s with guys like Duke’s Art Heyman and UNC’s Larry Brown.

Second, he’s one of the last great set shooters. The only guy we can think of in the modern era of basketball (generously defined) who mastered a set shot was Durham native John Lucas, who retired in 1990.

And third, he was a precursor of what is now called a Stretch 4 forward.

When you watch this, it’s hard to imagine his game translating to today, but there’s no denying his soft touch or, on occasion, his instinct for the game.

Schayes played professionally from 1948-1964 and his son, Danny, played in the NBA from 1981-1999. That’s 34 years between them and while we can’t say for sure that that’s the best father-son longevity record, we can't think of anyone else who is even close.

One other point about the elder Schayes: it must have been incredibly difficult and emotionally challenging to have been a young Jew from, well, 1933 on and to have the name Adolph. He never changed it but no one would have blamed if he had. Knocking the A off sounds much better.