Barnet Shulman’s happy ended has lasted 43 years
This happy ending is one you can sink your teeth in.
Basketball was his life.
While at Erasmus Hall High School Barnet Shulman averaged over 20 points-a-game his junior and senior seasons.
Barnet was a star – and destined for stardom — on a team loaded with super stars.
In fact, that 1965 Erasmus Hall team won the city championship with such household names as Coak Cannon, Robert E. Lee, Oliver Shannon, Carlton Screen and George Thompson.
“We beat Boys High and then Clinton for the title,” Shulman recalled the other day, “our seniors all ended up playing D-1 college basketball and George (Thompson) played in the NBA.”
And what about the kid from Park Street in Park Slope?
“I had scholarship offers to Davidson, Brown, NYU and Hofstra,” Shulman said, “but I wanted to stay close to home, so I chose LIU.”
The marriage of Barnet Shulman and LIU was a natural.
“We played great defense at Erasmus, and Roy Rubin (LIU coach) had great defensive teams,” he said, “I thought it would be a good fit.
“I also wanted to play with Larry Newbold, after watching him play for the Blackbirds (now Sharks),” he said. “And I knew Luther Green (DeWitt Clinton) would be on the freshman team with me.”
That LIU freshman team, with Barnet Shulman, didn’t lose a game – LIU basketball was making noise – locally and nationally – and Barnet Shulman was one of the noisemakers.
Then it happened.
Summer camp – and a fatal car accident – after his freshman year turned his life around.
“I was in great shape that summer,” he said, “we had a day-off from camp, took a ride to Port Jervis, missed a turn and hit a brick barn.”
Shulman took 80 stitches to the top of his head, was in traction for six-and-half weeks with a pully-strap under his chin.
“I lost about 30 pounds,” he said.
And basketball was, well, not even a thought in his mind.
“I told coach (Rubin) I’d be back,” he said. “I sat out seven-and-half months, and couldn’t play for 10 months, but he (Rubin) was very supportive.”
Time, they say, heals all wounds.
They forgot to say so does physical therapy.
“I was told I shouldn’t play ball,” Shulman said, after breaking his sixth cervical vertebrae. “I went back to camp the following summer, worked as a pot washer, lifted heavy pots to gain my strength.”
Barnet Shulman was a member of the LIU National Invitation Tournament team of 1968. That team had the upset win over Bradley, then lost in the last minute to Notre Dame.
But the story doesn’t end here – in fact, it’s just beginning.
“I was thinking of the future,” he said, “and I always liked working with my hands, and I wanted to work for myself. I had thoughts of becoming a dentist, even while I was in high school.”
NYU Dental School was the next stop – he graduated a half-year early, and today Dr. Barnet Shulman has his practice on 61st Street and 5th Avenue, 808 5th Avenue to be exact.
He’s an Endodontist – providing a common procedure called a root canal. Endodontics also concentrate on problems occurring beneath the tooth enamel in the pulp, blood vessels and nerves of the teeth.
He teaches post-grad courses at NYU – and his patient list is like a who’s who out of Hollywood.
In fact, Time Magazine noted that Dr. Shulman treated five of 10 of the most prominent people in the United States.
When asked for names, he kindly referred to client-patient confidentiality.
At 73, Dr. Barnet Shulman doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. “I shoot around a little bit, no full court anymore, since I tore my Achilles tendon,” he said.
He swims. He rides his bike as he has residence in Manhattan and Long Island. He’s practiced dentistry for 43 years.
Try sinking your teeth in that one.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected]
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