Documentary on Jews and basketball to be shown at River Garden, June 11th


Shalom Jacksonville Director


Did you know a Jewish kid from New York scored the first basket in the NBA?  Find out more about this piece of trivia and more Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m., as Shalom Jacksonville will show the documentary film, ‘The First Basket’ at River Garden Senior Services. Though basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Mass., the game spread like wildfire through the turn-of-the-century New York settlement houses and proved a perfect fit for urban Jewish kids. By the 1920s, basketball had become a staple of life in American Jewish communities and many of the top teams grew out of these neighborhoods. ‘The First Basket’ is the first comprehensive documentary to examine both the role that Jewish players had in the evolution of the game and the impact that basketball played in the assimilation of American Jews.


The film’s writer/producer David Vyorst and narrator Peter Riegert explore the little-known, yet very important, Jewish history of the game. Chock full of vivid anecdotes and distinctive characters, the film brings back famous as well as unsung basketball legends such as Red Auerbach, Red Holzman, Barney Sedran, Eddie Gottlieb, Abe Saperstein and Ossie Schechtman (that kid from New York who scored the eponymous First Basket). The Jewish Federation’s Shalom Jacksonville Division and River Garden invite you to come view this delightful and nostalgic film. There is no charge to attend, however, reservations are required by June 9th. Please contact Isabel Balotin at 904-448-5000, ext. 1206 or via Refreshments will be served prior to the screening. Visit for more information on the film and its making. 

The First Basket Trailer

Before Michael, Magic and Kobe ... there was Barney, Nat and Inky.