Tony Jackson had been a star at St. John’s in the late 1950s and early 1960s, winning the MVP award in the National Invitation Tournament in 1959 and earning All-America honors as a junior and senior.
A third-round pick by the New York Knicks in the 1961 NBA Draft, Jackson opted to sign with the Chicago Majors in the new American Basketball League after he was barred from playing in the NBA for being named in a college basketball point shaving scandal.
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According to his obituary in the New York Times, Jackson was one of many players named in an indictment, but never charged with a crime. His role in the scandal began and ended with turning down bribes, but not reporting that he was approached.
Jackson was off the pro basketball radar until he signed with the ABA’s New York Freighters in May 1967, one of the first players signed by the club along with NBA veteran Art Heyman and NBA draft pick Bob McIntyre, who had played in Spain.
The Freighters became the New Jersey Americans before their first season when they were unable to secure an arena in New York.
Jackson was the shooting star for that first Americans club, averaging 19.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 35.6 minutes per game. He shot .383/.301/.829, with his percentage affected by taking 302 3-point attempts and making only 91.
He was an All-Star in 1968 for New Jersey while placing third in the league in 3-pointers and attempts and fourth in free throw shooting.
Jackson was dealt to the Minnesota Pipers in November 1967 and was later traded to the Houston Mavericks. He retired after the 1968-69 season and spent many years working in recreational programs in Brooklyn.
He died Oct. 28, 2005, at the age of 65.