Hank Rosenstein, Knick Player in First N.B.A. Game, Dies at 89

These are not good times to be a former Knick.  In less than a month, we lose our third old-timer.  From the New York Times, here’s some of the obituary on Hank Rosenstein:

[...] played in what is considered the National Basketball Association’s first game, in 1946, as an original member of the New York Knicks, died on Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla., where he lived. He was 89.

[...] He was a member of the newly christened Knickerbockers when they faced the Toronto Huskies before an estimated crowd of 8,000 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Nov. 1, 1946. At the time, New York and Toronto were members of the Basketball Association of America, and this was the league’s first game. The B.A.A. would merge with the National Basketball League in 1949 to form the National Basketball Association.

The N.B.A., tracing its roots to those two earlier leagues, today considers the Toronto contest its inaugural game. New York won the game, 68-66.

In an era when professional and amateur teams reflected the ethnic immigrant populations of their respective cities, Rosenstein suited up for the game with seven other Jewish teammates. [...]

“Back then, pro teams drafted mostly local kids, so for the Knicks that meant taking a lot of Jewish players because they were the best around; they simply dominated the game,” Ray Lumpp, who played with the Knicks from 1948 to 1952, said in an interview on Monday.

Rosenstein played in 31 games for the Knicks that season, averaging 4.3 points per game, before he was traded to the Providence Steamrollers.

[Rosenstein] was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

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