A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 15, 2011
“Swish!” (basketball term)

Marty Glickman (1917-2001) was the first radio announcer for basketball’s New York Knickerbockers in 1946. Glickman heard the Knicks players say “Swish!” as a basketball went straight through the hoop, without touching the backboard or the rim. “Swish!” became a catchphrase of Glickman’s radio announcing and Glickman has been widely credited (by Knicks announcer Marv Albert and others) for popularizing the term.

The word “swish” to describe a rustling, hissing or whistling sound predates the game of basketball. “Swish” has been used in a basketball newspaper story since at least 1910 and had been regularly used in sports stories much before Glickman’s first radio basketball broadcasts of the 1940s.


Wiktionary: swish
Noun
swish
(plural swishes)
1.A short rustling, hissing or whistling sound, often made by friction.
2.A sound of liquid flowing inside a container.
3.A movement of an animal’s tail
4.A twig or bundle of twigs, used for administering beatings; a switch
5.(basketball) A successful basketball shot that does not touch the rim or backboard.
6.An effeminate male homosexual.

Wikipedia: Marty Glickman
Martin “Marty” Glickman (August 14, 1917 – January 3, 2001) was a Jewish American track and field athlete and sports announcer, born in The Bronx, New York. His parents, Harry and Molly Glickmann, immigrated to the United States from Jassy, Romania.
(...)
Glickman was a longtime mentor of broadcasters. His most famous protege, Marv Albert, eventually called radio broadcasts of the Knicks, Giants, and Rangers. He also aided the careers of acclaimed sportscasters Spencer Ross and Johnny Most. Glickman himself became a member of the Curt Gowdy wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Glickman joined radio station WHN in 1939 and was its sports director by 1943. When the New York Knickerbockers were formed in 1946, Glickman was their radio announcer. Later, he was the NBA’s first TV announcer. Marty Glickman was also the first announcer for the New York Nets before the ABA-NBA merger, when they played in their first home, the Island Garden in Nassau County. Many feel that this longtime mentor of many became the voice of the New York Nets as a favor to Lou Carneseca, who left a successful stint as the basketball coach of St. John’s University to be the first coach of the New York Nets.

14 March 1910, Hartford (CT) Courant, “High School Basketball,” pg. 14:
The first shot of Captain EUloUV (illegible—ed.) swished through the netting without hitting the iron ring of the basket from the side central portion of the floor, ...

1 March 1913, Decatur (IL) Review, “Miller in Game at Right Moment,” pg. 5, col. 1:
He pranced down under the Millikin basket, pulled the ball out of the air and poured it into the iron net twice in a row. As the sphere swished through the netting of the basket the Millikin rooters howled with glee, for it was those four points that gave Millikin the elusive Bradley bacon.

18 March 1915, Frederick (MD) Post,“‘Fair’ Athletes Shine In Basketball At Hood College” by Louis Clingdon, pg. 6, col. 3:
The swish of the soaring sphere, the cheers that follow in the wake of a caged basket, and the fascination of co-operative physical effort has drawn Hood College girls into the basketball arena in just the same manner that the flare of the lighted candle attracts the moth clan.

14 January 1923, New York (NY) Times, “Last-Minute Goal Wins for Quakers,” pg. S2:
After the Navy had overcome Penn’s scant lead after eleven minutes in the second half and gone ahead on thrilling field goals by Walshe and McKee, Carmack shot for the basket. It “swished” the ends of the cord, and Referee O’Shea called it a field goal.

Google News Archive
28 December 1923, Gettysburg (PA) Times, “Coatsville Is An Easy Victim,” pg. 6, col. 2:
Greased lightning best expresses the manner in which the Maroon and White quintet played basketball in the second half.On the offensive, the local five took the ball away from their opponents, zigzagged up the floor and, in another instant, there would be a swish as the ball fell through the basket.

23 February 1930, New York (NY) Times, “Columbia Five Tops Syracuse, 34 to 31,” pg. 153:
Tys was there and got the ball off the board, dribbled to a corner, pivoted, and let the ball fly. It swished through the hoop, hardly touching the rim.

Google News Archive
18 February 1933, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Panther Basketball Player Attacks Official” by Lester Biederman, pg. 9, col. 7:
Paul Birch got the ball. He heaved it from near mid-floor. Swish.

Google News Archive
31 March 1934, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Red Knights Await Going for Titular Game” by Tom Reedy, pg. 1, col. 4:
Strange baskets and the kinks of a day’s train ride impeded the Knights, but only for a short time. As they became accustomed, the rifle shots of the Mendelsohns, Captain Dracha and the others started to swish through the cords with the regularity that conquered Central Pennsylvania competition, inter-district rivals and brought the Red and Black to a State final for the first time.

Google News Archive
15 March 1946, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “Grantsville, Dons Tangle” by Grant Woodward, pg. 18, col. 2:
Bingham edged the Park City club in the last 6 seconds when Ken Hall swished a long one from mid-court.
(...)
Park City pulled out in front as the third canto started but Kent Stillman and Jack Knudsen swished a couple to hand Bingham the lead at third quarter time, 22-20.

9 November 1968, The Sporting News, pg. 33, col. 1:
An 88-Foot Shot...and Swish!

Google News Archive
24 December 1992, Bangor (ME) Daily News, Maine Weekend, pg. 14, col. 5:
Marty Glickman
to end 50-year
career today

By John Nelson
AP Sports Writer
(...)
You’ve heard the basketball term “swish.” So has Glickman. He invented it.

I’d love to but I have a game:
27 years without a life

By Marv Albert with Rick Reilly
New York, NY: Doubleday
1993
Pp. 36-37: 
He (Marty Glickman—ed.) brought forth the language of the game. For instance, he was the first basketball announcer to start using the word “swish.” People thought he invented it, but all he did was stand alongside Knicks star Carl Braun one day and every time Braun shot it up Braun would say, “swish.” He just brought it to the booth. And the country.

Google Books
The Fastest Kid on the Block:
The Marty Glickman story

By Marty Glickman and Stan Isaacs
Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press
1996
Pg. 74:
..."Swish!" I got this from the ballplayers.  I used to work out with them.  I would stand beside Sonny Hertzberg or Leo Gottlieb of the Knicks, and we’d shoot set shots. When one would go in, they would say, “swish!”

Google Books
Sports on New York Radio:
A play-by-play history

By David J. Halberstam
Lincolnwood, IL: Masters Press
1999
Pg. 353 (Ten Most Popular Phrases):
Marty Glickman...."Swish!" a shot that went right through the cords without hitting iron

New York (NY) Times
Marty Glickman, Blocked at ´36 Olympics, Dies at 83
By WILLIAM N. WALLACE
Published: January 4, 2001
Marty Glickman, who always believed he was denied a chance to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics because of anti-Semitism but later became the pre-eminent radio voice in New York sports, died yesterday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He was 83.
(...)
His trademark call of “Swish!” for a basketball shot that went in without touching the rim or backboard was as familiar to New York listeners as “Good! Like Nedicks!” The call referred to the name of the Knicks’ sponsor, a chain of hot-dog stands. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Thursday, December 15, 2011 • Permalink