One of the NBA’s early pioneers will be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame.
On Monday, April 13, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that NBA legend Dolph Schayes will be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame as a part of the 44th annual Bronx Week.
Schayes was born on May 19, 1928 in the Bronx to parents of Romanian Jewish descent and grew up on Davidson Avenue and 183rd Street near Jerome Avenue in University Heights.
He attended Creston Junior High School 79 and DeWitt Clinton High School, where he led his team to the borough championship.
He played college basketball under Hall of Fame coach Howard Cann at New York University from 1945-48, where he won the Haggerty Award, which is given to the All-Metropolitan New York Division 1 men’s college player of the year, in 1948. At NYU, he earned a degree in engineering.
Schayes was then drafted by both the New York Knicks and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the 1948 Basketball Association of America and the 1948 National Basketball League drafts (before the BAA and the National Basketball League merged to form the NBA in 1949) with the fourth overall pick.
The latter of the two teams traded Schayes to the Syracuse Nationals, where he would spend all but one of his years as a basketball pro, excluding the final year of his career when the team was relocated and renamed the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963, where Schayes was a player-coach.
In his 15 years in the NBL and NBA, Schayes played in 12 All-Star games, was named to six All-NBA first teams and led the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA Championship over the Fort Wayne Pistons in seven games.
By the time he retired, Schayes held the NBA record for games played at 996 and was second in scoring behind Bob Pettit, having scored over 18,000 points in his career.
A 6’8” power forward, Schayes was known primarily for his two-handed, high arcing outside set shots, which he adjusted to after breaking his right arm and learning to shoot with his off-hand early in his career. However, he also used his powerful drive to the basket as a weapon against defenders.
After his retirement in 1964, Schayes stayed the 76ers’ head coach for three more seasons and was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1966.
He is the father of retired NBA player Danny Schayes, who played for seven NBA teams from 1981 to 1999.
For his contributions to the NBA and the sport of basketball, Schayes was named to the NBA’s 25th Anniversary Team in 1970, the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1997 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Additionally, he was also inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the U.S. National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the National Jewish American Sports Hall of Fame.
“We have a long tradition of producing basketball legends in the Bronx, and Dolph Schayes is one of those greats that laid the foundation for future generations,” said Diaz. “He is a pioneer who was among one of the league’s first stars, and his popularity helped to build the NBA into the juggernaut it is today.”
“I am honored to be inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame,” said Schayes. “Growing up in the Bronx made a huge impact on my life and made me who I am. This borough is very special to me and I am very grateful to be recognized by Borough President Diaz.”
Schayes’ name will be emblazoned on a street sign on the Grand Concourse with other hometown heroes when they are inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame after the 11-day celebration of Bronx Week 2015, which will take place from May 7-17.
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