DeWitt Clinton High School has produced 18 NBA/ABA players with three of them playing in the league for over 10 years. With the NBA All Star Game returning to the state of NY for the 1st time in 17 years, it was the perfect opportunity for the NBA, as well as DeWitt Clinton, to honor two of their greats, Dolph Schayes and Nate “Tiny” Archibald. The event was put together by Publicolor Service Project in conjunction with Benjamin Moore Paints.
Dolph Schayes played in the NBA for 15 years. In 1948, he was originally drafted by both the New York Knicks in the BAA draft, which later became the NBA, and by the Tri-State Blackhawks (now the Atlanta Hawks), in the NBL draft. The Blackhawks traded his draft rights to the Syracuse Nationals, who offered Schayes a contract twice the amount of the Knicks, which led him to deciding to go to play for the Nationals. He played with them for 14 years before finishing his career with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1964.
Schayes was 6’8 200 pound Power Forward/Center that, for most of his career, averaged around 17-22 points per game and pulled down between 12 and 14 rebounds a game. The 86 year old Schayes was a 12 time NBA all-star and was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1973. Unfortunately, do to family medical reasons, he was not available to attend the event, but his son Danny Schayes, who also played in the NBA for 18 years, was there to accept the award on his father’s behalf.
Nate “Tiny” Archibald thankfully was able to attend the ceremony. He spoke to the kids in the crowd and talked about some of the life lessons he learned while going to DeWitt Clinton. He mentioned he wasn’t a good student, he just wanted to play basketball, but it wasn’t until he went to DeWitt Clinton where he was put in line and in his words, “Saved his life”. The discipline that he gained when going to school there taught him more about life than he could have ever dreamed of.
Archibald recalled a story about his hard-nosed coach Bob Buckner saying, “He told the team to bring all our basketball stuff and meet by the docks. I was looking around like I don’t see any buses or anything, what are we doing here? Then a ferry pulls us and coach tells us to get on. We end up going to the back side of Rikers Island. We go through security and everything, while wearing our basketball stuff and all of a sudden, I hear ‘Hey what’s up man’ and ‘Yo what’s up’. I realized that a lot of the people that were in there were people I knew growing up. So we end up playing them, beat them, but it was seeing how if I didn’t straighten up that I could end up like them that was the biggest lesson learned that day.”
Tiny Archibald had several accomplishments in the NBA including being a 6 time all-star, winning an NBA Championship, and being the only playing the lead the league in both Points and Assists in the same season, in 1973. He was also voted to the All-NBA 1st team three times and named as one of the top 50 NBA players of all time. At 6’1 and only 150 lbs, Archibald used his speed and basketball smarts to average about 25 points and 8 assists for about half of his career. He played for the Cincinnati Royal/Kansas City Kings, New York Nets, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks over a span of 13 years in the NBA.
Along with Archibald and Dolph Schayes son, Danny, were former New York Knick Tom Hoover, former Utah Jazz Thurl Bailey, as well as former WNBA Legend from the New York Liberty, Teresa Witherspoon, and other NBA all time legends. The kids, along with most of the players participated in repainting the hallways of the school on the 2nd floor, while also listening to more stories that Tiny had about their school and advise for their future. The six hour event was one of those moments that you gain more knowledge for life, than anything he could have taught you on the basketball court. Hopefully, the numerous kids in attendance will be able to remember and take that with them in their lives.
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