MINNEAPOLIS — Carl Braun, the Garden City High School standout who went on to become the Knicks’ first big star, has been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The man whose two-handed set shot earned him five All-Star Game appearances was among the honorees announced by the Hall on Saturday at the Final Four.
Braun, who died in 2010 at 82, was born in Brooklyn and became a multi-sport athlete on Long Island. He might have pursued a professional baseball career if he had not suffered an arm injury when he was a Yankees minor-leaguer, but his life in basketball proved he took the right path.
Braun joined the Knicks out of Colgate in 1947 and was their top scorer in his first seven seasons. As a rookie, he scored a then-record 47 points in a game against the Providence Steamrollers. Years later, he said, “That was just my night, but I never took 36 shots again.”
He served two seasons as player-coach before finishing with the 1961-62 Celtics, earning an NBA championship ring. He remains the fifth-leading scorer in Knicks history.
Teresa Weatherspoon of the Liberty, the first player to have 1,000 points and 1,000 assists in the WNBA, also was elected. During a news conference at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Texas native said: “Growing up where I came from, I had to fall in love with something. It all started in my family, seeing the athletes and the way my mom taught me to enjoy everything I do.”
Former ABA and NBA star Bobby Jones, a defensive specialist, also was named along with fellow former NBA players Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Vlade Divac and Paul Westphal. Al Attles, a New Jersey native who played for and coached the Warriors, was elected in the contributor category. Bill Fitch was elected as a coach.
Chuck Cooper, the first African-American to be drafted by an NBA team and who entered the league in 1950 after having played for Duquesne and the Harlem Globetrotters, was elected by the Early African-American Pioneers Committee.
Also honored were two teams, 19-time women’s national champion Wayland (Texas) Baptist and three-time men’s small college champion Tennessee A&I (1957-59). The latter included Dick Barnett, who went on to start for the 1970 NBA champion Knicks.