web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Reflections Of A Former Bronx Hoopster

Front-Page-010413

Share Button

Auerbach was focused, laser-like, on winning NBA championships and, in a city that was not at all hospitable to black professional athletes, was a pioneer in the 1950s in recruiting black players, including Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones and Satch Sanders (from Manhattan’s Seward Park HS). By contrast, the Boston Red Sox didn’t sign their first black player, Pumpsie Green, until 1959 – 12 years after Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers had shattered Major League Baseball’s repugnant apartheid policy.

In 1967, when I played on the freshman team at CCNY, we played at Brooklyn College while the K.C. Jones-coached Brandeis team, which was very weak, played the home team’s varsity. As a callow 17-year-old, I couldn’t understand why Jones, who had just retired, was wasting his time coaching such a poor team. I didn’t realize that most major predominantly white colleges were not then receptive to hiring black coaches. In both 1984 and 1986, Jones would lead the Celtics to the NBA title.

The Celtics’ Jewish fans didn’t care that the team never had a Jewish player who was a key contributor to its championship teams. Red Auerbach lived by the credo of the New York City basketball courts: the best guys played. (I met Auerbach in 1978 at the 75th anniversary dinner of the PSAL. When he borrowed a quarter from me to make a phone call to find out how the Celtics fared that evening, I didn’t have the heart to tell him his team just didn’t have it that year.

Contrast Auerbach’s approach with that of Fred Wilpon, the owner of the hapless New York Mets, who played baseball with Sandy Koufax at Brooklyn’s Lafayette HS and who a few years ago took outspoken pride in the Mets’ Jewish owners, then-black manager and then-Hispanic general manager. During that time I happened to live in Queens, where the Mets have played for all but two of their 51 seasons, and I would sarcastically ask the team’s fans how many victories that multicultural bragging point put up for their team.

* * * * *

I would suggest a future book about Jewish athletes and coaches – perhaps a sequel to Foer and Tracy’s anthology – that explores the collaboration between Jews and blacks in New York City hoops. Several chapters could be devoted to legendary Jewish high school coaches such as Mickey Fisher at Boys High and Jammy Moskowitz at Madison and the many black and Jewish players they coached and mentored. (Until the 1960s, few African-American men had college degrees, a prerequisite for coaching scholastic sports in New York City.)

Fisher, who led the Israeli national team in 1960 and then became the athletic director at Brandeis University, coached Hall of Famers Lenny Wilkens and Connie Hawkins.

The great merit of Foer and Tracy’s collection is that leading Jewish-American intellectuals, including David Brooks of The New York Times, Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, and Lawrence Summers, former treasury secretary and Harvard president, have gone on record with the recognition that sports is a legitimate area of scholarly pursuit and a healthy boost to ethnic pride.

Two earlier generations of Jewish-American intellectuals reared in New York City, including Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer, Norman Podhoretz and Alfred Kazin, do not appear to have ever validated that crucial insight.

Share Button

About the Author: Mark Schulte has written about World War II and the liberation of the concentration camp for two decades for The Jewish Press, New York Post, Weekly Standard, New York Daily News and other publications.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Reflections Of A Former Bronx Hoopster”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest Indepth Stories
Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

Yossi Klein HaLevi

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

More Articles from Mark Schulte
Ed Koch

Most obituaries on Ed Koch paid scant attention to his military service in World War II.

Front-Page-010413

In the introduction to their recently published Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy hyperbolically describe American basketball between the world wars as a “majority-owned subsidiary of New York Jewish culture.”

But she never forgot the compassionate treatment she received during the twilight of her teaching career, which was a direct result of policies implemented by Chancellor Macchiarola. After leaving the chancellorship, Dr. Macchiarola served as the dean of Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law School in Manhattan and the president of St. Francis College in Brooklyn. None […]

A recent dispute between conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer centered on the Obama administration’s return to the British government in January 2009 of a bust of Winston Churchill, which had been kept in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

While the Supreme Court recently invalidated the Stolen Valor Act, which imposed criminal penalties on Americans who falsely claim medals for combat bravery, prominent Democrats – including Jesse Jackson, Charles Rangel, Robert Morgenthau and Eric Holder – have repeatedly distorted World War II and Holocaust history for purposes of ethnic politics.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/reflections-of-a-former-bronx-hoopster/2013/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: