David Vyorsts documentary The First Basket explores the impact that basketball had on modern Jewish history, as well as the profound influence that unsung Jewish pioneers had on the evolution of basketball, as it grew from a game played with ash-cans on tenement steps to the second most popular sport in the world.
Though basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in Massachusetts, the game spread like wildfire through 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 documentary to comprehensively 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.
In The First Basket, Washington, DC based writer/producer/director 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, Dolph Schayes, Red Sarachek, Barney Sedran, Eddie Gottlieb, Abe Saperstein, Ossie Schectman, Ralph Kaplowitz, Sammy Kaplan and many more.
The First Basket reveals the rich history and amazing contributions of Jewish athletes who became role models and heroes to generations of fans and changed the face and perception of Jews in all athletics. The First Basket is indeed the greatest Jewish basketball documentary in the world.