Frankel, Nat : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Frankel, Nat

Nathan Frankel

Frankel was a professional basketball player in the 1930s and 1940s who played in the American Basketball League (ABL), National Basketball League (NBL), and the NBA.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Nov. 3, 1913

Career Highlights:
In early 1930s, Frankel was a star at Brooklyn College and was named All-Metropolitan (New York City) before joining the Bronx Americans of the American Basketball League in 1933. At this time, the ABL was the top pro league (actually semi-pro) in the East. After the Americans folded, Frankel played for numerous teams in the ABL and became one of the league's top scorers. In 1936-37, he finished seventh in the league in scoring (207 points) for the Brooklyn Visitations. The following year, Frankel joined league MVP Moe Spahn on the Jersey Reds. In 1937-38, he finished tenth in the league in scoring with 273 points as the Reds won the championship by defeating the New York Jewels in the playoffs, four games to two.

In 1938-39, Frankel was the leading scorer for the Kingston Colonials (276 points, 7.9 average), which finished first in the regular season with a record of 28-7. In the playoffs, the Colonials were upset in the first round by Frankel's former team, the Jersey Reds. After that season, Frankel jumped leagues and joined the Detroit Eagles of the National Basketball League in 1939-40. Based in the Midwest, the NBL was another major league. (In the late 1940s, the NBL merged with the BAA to form the NBA). That season, Frankel was named All-NBL second team; he scored 201 points and averaged 7.4 points per game, helping the Eagles to a second place finish in the Eastern Division (17-10). They lost to the eventual NBL champs Akron Firestone in the first round, 2-1 (Frankel averaged 8.0 points per game in the series). Two of his teammates that year were Jewish stars Irv Torgoff and Bernie Opper.

Frankel returned to the ABL the following season with the Washington Brewers and led the league in scoring in 1941-42 with 188 points (9.4 average); the team failed to make the playoffs either season. By the mid-1940s, Frankel was in his thirties and he played sparingly in the ABL; he played in two games for New York Jewels (1-6) in a shortened 1942-43 season. He then played 15 games for the Troy Celtics in 1946-47 to finish out his ABL career. Frankel appeared in 152 career ABL games and finished as the 12th all-time scorer in league history with 1292 points (8.5 average).

During the 1946-47 season, Frankel also played for the Pittsburgh Ironmen in the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The BAA formed that year with national aspirations, but was not considered the top pro league until 1949-50 when it merged with the NBL and became the NBA. Frankel played six games and scored 16 points in that initial season with the Ironmen (15-45).

New York

Career Dates:
Frankel played at Brooklyn College in the early 1930s. He played in the NBL with the Detroit Eagles in 1939-40, in the ABL with the Bronx Americans, Brooklyn, the Kingston Colonials, Washington Brewers and Jersey Reds, and in the NBA with the Pittsburgh Ironmen in 1946-47.

Physical description:
6'2", 195 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 6
Points: 16
Points Per Game: 2.7

Field Goals Made: 4
Field Goals Attempted: 27
Field Goal Percentage: .148

Free Throws Made: 8
Free Throws Attempted: 12
Free Throw Percentage: .667

Rebounds: not available
Assists: 3
Assists Per Game: 0.5
Personal Fouls: 6

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Official NBA Encyclopedia: Third Edition, edited by Jan Hubbard (New York: Doubleday, 2000)