Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Of Red Auerbach, Red Holzman, Red Sarachek, etc.

Finally got around to watching "The First Basket," released on DVD earlier this month (suggested retail, $24.99), whose subtitle pretty much sums it up:

"The Greatest Jewish Basketball Documentary Ever."

Writer/producer/director David Vyorst and narrator Peter Riegert cover the influence Jews had on the early decades of basketball - including their domination of the first Knicks lineup in 1946-47 and the fact one of them, Ossie Schectman, scored the first basket in the history of what is now known as the NBA.

The subject of Jews in sports often requires a tricky balance of self-deprecating humor and justifiable pride, and this documentary strikes it well.

Bottom line: For the first half of the 20th century, hoops at its highest levels - especially in New York - was the Jewish-American national pastime.

Tags: basketball

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