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Zaslofsky, Max

ZASLOFSKY, MAX

ZASLOFSKY, MAX ("Slats "; 1925–1985), U.S. basketball player and coach, member of the nba's Silver Anniversary Top 25 Team. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Zaslofsky was an all-scholastic player at Thomas Jefferson High School. He graduated during World War ii, and served for two years in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge, Zaslofsky attended St. John's University for a year, where he helped the Redmen to the nit with his effective two-hand set shot and solid overall court presence. Already 21 years old and married, Zaslofsky chose to turn professional in 1946, playing for the Chicago Stags of the newly formed baa, which three years later became the nba. Chicago, led by Zaslofsky's offense, topped the Western Division, and in the playoffs upset Coach Red *Auerbach's heavily favored Washington Capitols before bowing out to the Philadelphia Warriors in the championship. At the end of his rookie season, Zaslofsky was named First Team All-nba, the youngest player ever to receive that honor (21 years 4 months). In the 1947–48 campaign, Zaslofsky was first in the league in total points (1,007), second in points per game (21.0), and led Chicago to a quarterfinal victory over Boston in the playoffs before losing to Baltimore in the semifinals. In his third season with Chicago, Zaslofsky was again among the top five in most offensive categories. In his last year with Chicago, Zaslofsky led the nba in free-throw percentage, shooting 84.3 percent. Zaslofsky was named First Team All-nba each of his four years with Chicago. When the Stags folded in 1950, the now coveted Zaslofsky was won in a mini-lottery by the New York Knicks, whom he immediately helped to two consecutive nba finals in 1951 and 1952, and was named a starter on the 1952 nba All-Star East team. Zaslofsky was traded in 1953 to the Fort Wayne Pistons, and the following year he went to the Baltimore Bullets and Milwaukee Hawks before returning to Fort Wayne. During that 1954 season, Zaslofsky became the first of only five nba players to score 20 or more points in a game for three different teams in the same season. Zaslofsky led the 1954–55 Pistons team to the nba finals, and contributed to their repeat trip to the finals the following year. When he retired in 1956, Zaslofsky was the third highest scorer in the nba, with nearly 8,000 points. He came out of retirement in 1967 to coach the New Jersey Americans of the American Basketball Association. The team narrowly missed the playoffs after having to forfeit a tiebreaker game. Zaslofsky retired from coaching the following season. In 2002, the staff of espn voted Zaslofsky one of the top ten players in nba history not to be included in the Hall of Fame.

[Robert B. Klein (2nd ed.)]

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