A certainty to be the United States' entry in the 1936 Olympics basketball competition, the Long Island University Blackbirds, recognized as the U.S.A.'s No. 1 team, voted to boycott the 1936 Berlin games. The Blackbirds, who had won 33 consecutive games by an average margin of 23 points over the 1935-36 period, rejected the opportunity to compete in Germany in the first Olympiad that included basketball on its menu.
LIUs' starting five were Jules Bender, Ben Kramer, Leo Merson, Marius Russo and Arthur Hillhouse. Bender and Kramer, both All-Americans, and Merson were all Jewish. Coach Clair Bee's team voted by secret ballot on the premise that if one player voted to participate, that would be the team's decision. Other LIU players included: Bill Schwarz and Harry Grant.
In their place, a composite AAU (corporate "amateurs") Olympic squad was selected, including seven players and the coach of the Universal Studios team. UCLA's former All-American Sam Balter, was a starter on the team. They were undefeated gold medallists.
L-R: Coach Clair Bee, Willie Schwartz, Julie Bender, Ben Kramer, Ken Norton, Leo Merson, Marius Russo, Arthur Hillhouse. Schwartz, Bender, Kramer and Merson were Jewish.