It’s unusual for a top athlete to live to be 100 years old, and in the NBA it’s even rarer. Stanley “Whitey” Von Nieda is the only former American basketball player over 100 years old. Unfortunately, the league reported that he died in his native Pennsylvania at the age of 101.
Last year, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, “Whitey” received a certificate from the National Basketball Retired Players Association, recognizing him as the first former NBA player to reach 100 years old.
Von Nieda, born on June 19, 1922, began his professional career in 1947 in the National Basketball League (NBL) with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and saw the merger with the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA in 1949. He was sold to the Baltimore Bullets in January 1950.
“White’s numbers in the NBA were 5.3 points and 2.4 assists after playing 59 games in his only season, including 26 games with the Blackhawks and 33 with the Bullets.”
Unfortunately, his career ended at the age of 28 due to an eye injury. However, according to several reports, Von Nieda played basketball semi-professionally and recreationally well into his 60s.
“Whitey” played in the NBA’s opening game
After the merger of the NBL and BAA, the NBA was created for the 1949/50 season. The opening game was between the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, where “Whitey” played, and the Denver Nuggets.
Von Nieda and Co. emerged victorious from Wharton Field House in Moline, Illinois by a score of 93-85 and the forward scored 14 points after hitting five field goals and four free attempts. In addition, “Whitey” committed three personal fouls.