Biography of Basketball Player and Athlete Nat Holman

About the biography of the famous basketball player and athlete Nat Holman history and information.

Nat Holman

Five years after James Naismith invented the game, Nat Holman was born February 1, 1896, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At the age of 8, Holman played for the 1st time--his ball was a sack stuffed with rags.

Later, at Commerce High School in New York, Holman opted for versatility by starring in 4 sports. Pro baseball beckoned--by way of an offer from the Cincinnati Reds--but it was refused. Basketball then became the id├łe fixe of his life.

While studying physical education at New York's Savage School, he began playing for money. He would eventually play for teams in Newark, Bridgeport, Syracuse, New York, Germantown, and Chicago, but was immortalized as the driving genius of the original Celtics.

Holman and Dutch Leonard joined the Celtics in 1921. In the ensuing years, the team won 720 of 795 games. The Furey brothers ran the Celtics and gave Holman what is believed to be the sport's 1st long-term, lucrative contract.

Holman was to basketball what Jack Dempsey, Red Grange, and Babe Ruth were to their respective games--its golden boy of the Roaring 20s, the Golden Age of Sports. He was innovative, fast, cocksure, and remarkably talented. He pioneered double-figure scoring, often producing half the Celtics' points, and took pro-basketball out of its Stone Age by giving it respectability.

The original "Mr. Basketball" retired from competition in 1930 to devote full time to his head coaching duties at City College of New York, a position he had taken in 1920. In 1950, CCNY, whose best players were lured without scholarships from the sidewalks and slums of New York City, scored an unprecedented "grand slam" by winning both the NIT and NCAA tournaments.

As it turned out, however, 4 players from that team were later found guilty of shaving points. This was life's cruelest blow to Holman, a man of unquestionable integrity. Later, all 4 overcame the scandal's stigma and achieved success in the business world.

As 35-year CCNY coach (1920-1952, 1955-1956, 1959-1960), Holman's record was a lofty 423-190. His achievements won him wide acceptance. For many years he has been president of U.S. Committee, Sports for Israel.

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