TOP SPOT: Dolph Schayes, voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, died Dec. 10 in Syracuse, NY, at the age of 87. In 2014, the New York Jewish Week deemed the 12-time All-Star “arguably, to professional basketball, what Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg were to baseball — the most prominent professional Jewish athlete to ever to play his sport.”
Schayes — who was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame as well as the National and International Jewish Sports Halls of Fame — was the first player in the NBA to score 15,000 points, all for the Syracuse Nationals who became the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963. In 1966, he was named Coach of the Year for leading the 76ers to an NBA championship.
In 1977, Schayes coached the U.S. basketball team — which included his son, Danny (who would also enjoy a long stint in the NBA) — to a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games.
Best of the rest: NFL teams with active Jews on their roster won three of four games in Week 14, including cornerback Taylor Mays, who made just his third start of the season for the Oakland Raiders… Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar was chosen as the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for his outstanding glove work in centerfield (you can see highlights at tinyurl.com/PillarCatch)…Theo Epstein, general manager of the Chicago Cubs, signed key free agents Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey, “setting up the [team] to be a powerhouse for years to come,” according to Ken Rosenthal on FoxSports.com.