The First Basket
The First Basket is a 2008 documentary film on professional basketball's influence on Jewish culture.

It is narrated by Peter Riegert
Peter Riegert
Peter Riegert is an American actor, screenwriter, and film director, best known for his role as Boon from Animal House and crooked New Jersey State Assemblyman Ronald Zellman on the HBO original series The Sopranos.-Early life:...

. The film includes interviews and narratives provided by, and footage of, well known Jewish basketball personalities including Ossie Schectman
Ossie Schectman
Oscar B. "Ossie" Schectman is a retired American professional basketball player. He is credited with having scored the very first basket in the National Basketball Association , at that time the Basketball Association of America....

, Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach
Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics. After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death...

, Sidney Hertzberg
Sidney Hertzberg
Sidney "Sonny" Hertzberg was an American pro basketball player. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and died in Woodmere, New York.-Career:...

, and Edward Gottlieb
Edward Gottlieb
Edward Gottlieb , known as "Mr. Basketball" and "The Mogul", was the first coach and manager of the Philadelphia Warriors in the National Basketball Association , and the former owner and coach of the team from 1951 to 1962...

 as well as other Jewish basketball players.


The movie is broken into four parts. The first part focuses on the 1946–47 New York Knickerbockers, and players such as Ossie Schectman, Sonny Hertzberg, Leo "Ace" Gotlieb, Ralph Kaplowitz, and Hank Rosenstein. The second part centers on how "Basketball Meant Being American," and the third part on professional basketball's development, including the start of the BAA and the NBA, the South Philadelphia Hebrew All Stars (SPHAs), basketball teams at City College of New York, Long Island University, and St. John's, and players including Nat Holman, Sammy Kaplan, Barney Sedran, Nat Krinsky, Red Saracheck, Red Holzman, and Red Auerbach. The last part centers on the beginining of the BAA and the NBA, Nat Holman, CCNY, and the 1951 CCNY point-shaving scandals and their impact on the NBA, and Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Tel Aviv is the biggest sports club in Israel and a part of the Maccabi association. It runs many sports club and teams in Tel Aviv, which compete in a variety of sports, such as football, basketball, judo, swimming, handball, and others....


Film Festivals

It premiered at the FilmFest DC International Film Festival, and was shown at over 25 other film festivals.

Critical Reception

The First Basket received generally excellent reviews from critics. As of October 2010, review aggregator
Review aggregator
A review aggregator is a system that collects reviews of products and services . This system stores the reviews and then uses them for purposes such as: creating a website for users to view the reviews, selling information to third parties about consumer tendencies and creating databases for...

 Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 reported that 67% of 9 professional critics had given the film a positive review.

The Village Voice
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and news and features website in New York City that features investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City...

reviewer Ella Taylor
Ella Taylor
Ella Taylor is a film critic who was a staff writer for the LA Weekly and Village Voice Media, writing film and book reviews, interviews, profiles, and cultural and political commentary from 1989 to 2009, when she and much of the staff were laid off....

, said of The First Basket:
The First Basket is more than a triumphalist screw-you to those who think Jews don't play sports. . . David Vyorst's clear-eyed, jaunty documentary briskly walks us through the history of American Jews in basketball..

Film Journal International
Film Journal International
Film Journal International is a motion-picture industry trade magazine published by the American company Prometheus Global Media. It is a sister publication of Adweek, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and other periodicals....

reviewer Lewis Beale
Lewis Beale
Lewis Beale is an American journalist, film critic and film lecturer whose articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times the Chicago Sun-Times, Interview, USA Today, Film Journal International, and other publications...

, said of The First Basket:
An important historical document. . . engrossing and fun.


Roberto Juan Rodriguez was the Musical Director and Composer on The First Basket: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. He is a musician who synthesizes Cuban music and Jewish music.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.