Ben Schadler, a Benton Harbor basketball legend

May 4, 2012 in Professional

By Patrick Hayes

I don’t know how long former NBA player Bernard ‘Ben’ Schadler lived in Benton Harbor. I do know that, according to his bio, he’s from there. I also know that if you love basketball, you should definitely read this amazing story by Schadler’s grandson, Matt Kallman, written for The Classical:

The only uniform I’d ever see him in was a blue smock. Grandpa Ben owned and managed a Rexall Drug my whole childhood, retiring during my freshman year of high school when the store’s lease expired. I lived next door to him growing up; that he was an ex-NBA’er was a fun fact to toss around to my friends, especially when he ventured out into the driveway to shoot around with us, which he did regularly. Once in a while a buddy would ask for his autograph, which would lead to Grandpa and I sharing a laugh, in on his joke that he was no John Stockton, or Mark Price, or Tony Massenburg, or Keith Jennings. Still, he would politely oblige.

To my adolescent ears, Grandpa Ben’s tales had the vague quality of being vaguely … off, somehow:

“The only time I got in a game at the Knicks, Madison Square Garden was booked for the circus, so we had to play in the armory building.”

“One time Otto Graham almost blew off my friend’s face on a skeet shooting trip.”

“My sister met Muhammad Ali at the post office.”

I really can’t do it justice with a short excerpt. It’s well worth your time to read the whole thing, and it’s another example of basketball players with Michigan ties showing up just about everywhere.