Nat Holman, born on October 19th, 1896, was a Jewish-American basketball player, coach, and basketball pioneer. He is considered one of the greatest basketball players of the early 20th century and a visionary coach who revolutionized the game. He was a key player in the early years of professional basketball and later became a legendary coach, leading the City College of New York to two NCAA championships and multiple national titles.
Nat Holman was born in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and began playing basketball in local leagues as a teenager. Holman was a talented athlete and played a variety of sports, but basketball was his true passion. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he was a star player on the basketball team.
After graduating from high school in 1914, Holman attended New York University, where he continued to play basketball. He quickly became one of the best players in the country and was known for his quickness, agility, and shooting ability. In 1915, he helped lead NYU to the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA) championship.
In 1920, Holman joined the Original Celtics, a professional basketball team based in New York City. The Celtics were one of the best teams in the country, and Holman quickly became one of their star players. He was known for his innovative playing style, which included using the backboard to score and developing new dribbling techniques. Holman helped lead the Celtics to numerous championships and was considered one of the best players in the country during the 1920s.
In addition to his success on the basketball court, Holman was also an important figure in the Jewish community. He was a vocal advocate for Jewish athletes and worked to break down barriers for Jewish athletes in professional sports.
After retiring from playing in 1930, Holman began his coaching career. He became the head coach at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1920, and quickly became one of the most successful coaches in the country. He led CCNY to two NCAA championships in 1950 and 1951, and was known for his innovative coaching style.
Holman was a master strategist, and he was known for his ability to develop game plans that would exploit the weaknesses of his opponents. He was also a master of motivation, and he was able to get the most out of his players by instilling a sense of team unity and emphasizing the importance of hard work and dedication.
One of Holman’s most famous coaching innovations was the “set shot,” which he developed in the 1930s. The set shot was a technique in which the shooter would jump off both feet and release the ball at the height of the jump, rather than shooting the ball in midair. The set shot was more accurate and allowed players to shoot from greater distances, and it quickly became the standard technique for shooting in basketball.
Holman’s success at CCNY was not limited to his two NCAA championships. He led the team to seven City University of New York (CUNY) championships and six National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championships. In 1950, CCNY became the first team in history to win both the NCAA and NIT championships in the same year.
Nat Holman’s contributions to basketball cannot be overstated. As a player, he was one of the best of his generation and helped pioneer many of the techniques that are still used in basketball today. As a coach, he was a visionary who revolutionized the game and developed new strategies and techniques that are still used today.
Holman was also an important figure in the Jewish community and worked to break down barriers for Jewish athletes in professional sports. He was a vocal advocate for Jewish athletes, and his success on the basketball court helped pave the way for other Jewish athletes to succeed in professional sports.
Holman’s contributions to the game of basketball were recognized in 1964 when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
In addition to his success as a basketball player and coach, Holman was also a respected educator. He was a professor of physical education at CCNY for more than 40 years, and he was known for his dedication to his students and his commitment to promoting physical fitness and healthy living.
Despite his many accomplishments, Nat Holman was a humble and modest man who was always willing to help others. He was known for his kindness, his generosity, and his willingness to give back to the community. He remained active in basketball and education until his death on February 12th, 1995, at the age of 98.
Nat Holman was a true pioneer of basketball and a legendary figure in the sport. As a player, he was one of the best of his generation and helped pioneer many of the techniques that are still used in basketball today. As a coach, he was a visionary who revolutionized the game and developed new strategies and techniques that are still used today.
Holman’s success on the basketball court helped break down barriers for Jewish athletes in professional sports, and he was a vocal advocate for Jewish athletes throughout his life. His contributions to the game of basketball were recognized with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
But perhaps most importantly, Nat Holman was a kind and humble man who was dedicated to helping others. He remained active in basketball and education until his death, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations of basketball players and coaches.