Many of you are aware that AJHS has an extensive collection of sports memorabilia, especially when it comes to baseball. But did you know that we also collect across many other sports as well, including basketball? Since the NCAA Tournament is now upon us, and many sports fans have their minds on college basketball, we would like to highlight one particular individual whose collection is here at AJHS- the collection of Harry Boykoff.
Harry Boykoff was a born and raised New Yorker, excelling at basketball while a student at Brooklyn’s Thomas Jefferson High School and later continuing his playing while matriculating at St. John’s University. While many basketball players are on the tall side, Boykoff often towered over his peers at 6 feet 9 inches, which made him a fantastic shot blocker- so much so, in fact, that the official game rules were later changed in order to tamp down on shots being blocked as they are going towards the basket, what is now known as “goaltending”. Boykoff had a great record at St. John’s, and was a three time All-American; his college ball success was briefly interrupted as he, like many others, served in the armed forces during WWII. After his return to college in 1947, he set a record at Madison Square Garden for the most points scored in a single game; Boykoff scored 54 points, which was more than the entire opposing team combined.
His prowess continued in the professional sporting world, where he played for multiple teams such as The Waterloo Hawks, and, most notably, The Boston Celtics under coach Red Auerbach. During his time with the Celtics, he was the highest paid NBA player in the league, making approximately $15,000 per year. After basketball, Boykoff turned to acting, and had roles in TV shows, commercials, and feature films. His collection, which features scrapbooks, memorabilia, and many artifacts from his college and professional careers, was donated by his family in 2021. The Boykoff collection is currently being cataloged by AJHS staff, and should be available for researchers shortly.
See items from the Boykoff collection: