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Don Otten - Unseen, Unknown, and Unfufilled

Don Otten

Credit: Peach Basket Society

From Bellefontaine, Ohio, Don Otten was a 6'10" Center and was one of professional basketball's earliest Superstars. However, his name is rarely brought up in conversations. To be fair, Otten played in the 1940s-60s, so the number of people that have watched him play are probably little to none (because they're dead).

On the other hand, players like George Mikan, Paul Arizin, Bob Cousy, etc., also played in the same era, yet their names are brought up all the time. In honor of Otten's legacy, we'll be going over his three seasons in the NBL and additional four seasons in the NBA.

Fun Fact 1:

Before the goaltending rule, players were allowed to block shots even while the basketball was going downwards. As a result, players like Don Otten, George Mikan, and Bob Kurland stood under the basket and, with ease, block shot after shot.

The triplet blocked so many shots that they forced the professional basketball leagues to enforce the 1945 goaltending rule change!

Fun Fact 2:

Because of how often Don Otten blocked shots, he was nicknamed "The Goalie" in high school. Otten also happens to be one of the first players ever to dunk a basketball!


Table of Contents:


1946-1949: NBL

1946-47: Rookie Season

Don Otten joined the NBL in the 1946-47 season alongside the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, who entered the NBL as a team in the same season. You may know the Tri-Cities Blackhawks as the Atlanta Hawks nowadays. This means that Otten was the first Superstar the Hawks ever had since (spoilers) the Blackhawks never had any good players when they first entered the league.

In the 1967-67 NBL season, the Blackhawks would go 19-25 (43.2 W/L%).