Dolph Schayes, the greatest Jewish basketball player who ever lived, was the seventh man on the team that won Sports Illustrated’s all-time fantasy league. To back up: Ten SI writers drafted 12 players each from all current and former players; those teams then played a 72-game season, with the help of Strat-O-Matic—the legendary sports simulator whose inventor, as I noted in my article about advanced statistics, is a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame—and, then, the top four teams contested two-round playoffs to determine the champion.
The winner? Joe Posnanski, a writer I hugely admire (he is quoted in the stats article), whose team rode his overall number-two pick of Wilt Chamberlain to the Finals, where it beat a team that included Chamberlain’s real-life arch-foe Bill Russell as well as real-life Finals loser LeBron James. (Coaching-wise Posnanski’s Bob Knight outdueled Mike Krzyzewski.) In the deciding seventh game, Schayes came through with 18 points in only 14 minutes.
Of his seventh pick, who went 62nd overall, Posnanski notes, “In addition to Wilt, Dolph Schayes played a great Game 7. There were some who wondered how Schayes’ game would translate in modern times. But he was such a great pure shooter, I thought he’d play well.” (Indeed, he made one three-pointer, although in real life that shot was not instituted in the NBA until 15 years after his retirement.) Even sweeter, Schayes won this fake championship while playing alongside his favorite player, starting power forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.