|Inky Lautmen, circa 1930-1935.
Inky started to play pro ball in the Jewish League for the Philadelphia
SPHAA's (South Philadelphia Hebrew Athletic Association) around 1930. Of course he was a big star in Philadelphia. The letters on his uniform are hebrew which help date this photo. Later english was used on the uniforms.
His parents made him quit high school in 10th grade (age 15) to earn money playing basketball during the tough depression times. He always regretted not going back to HS & college. He played pro ball till about 1946. In 1948 the NBA started from the Jewish
League. Many of his teammates became involved in the new pro league as managers and owners. You can see several team pictures of the Sphaas, including my Uncle Inky, in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
|If you ever wondered why NBA commissioners are often short jewish guys, well, now you know.
Uncle Inky never showed much interest in basketball to me. He died in the 80's, way before I did the books. Still surviving are his 2 sons, my cousins, Robert and Marvin Lautman.
I thought the garb and basketball were pretty cool.
Someone doing a story about the beginnings of pro basketball emailed me this photo. Inky was about 6'2".