The Hook

What draws people to this game and this group? Why do players come twice a week for weeks and months and years in a row? Why do old timers turn up to play? What is the hook? The hook in the consistency of the game: played at a high level, played aggressively, played by players who can play and have edge, played by those that don’t want to lose. The hook are the younger players who want to show their best and the older players who want to show they are the best. 25 vs 50, 30 vs 60. No slackers, no laziness, no excuses. Flat out heavy duty b-ball. Once the hook is in you can’t get it out.

Craig Raucher – Founder and Commissioner of the Staten Island Basketball League –

I am a 62-year-old man with a long and rich basketball history. I am the founder and Commissioner of the Staten Island Basketball League and have played organized and college basketball for 52 years. I’ve had many knee surgeries over the years due to basketball injuries. Eventually had to have both knees replaced as the pain was unbearable and the quality of my life was not good.

As an aging athlete, basketball and working out defined my nature and was a shield against growing old.

I had first knee replaced at another hospital when I was 59 and the second knee replaced by Dr. Mayman when I was 61 at HSS. My experience at HSS from intake to surgery to post-op pain management to discharge was outstanding in every way. My only regret is that I only have 2 knees to replace (only kidding).

I was told by both surgeons that I would not be able to play highly competitive full court basketball again. I listened but at that point was determined to get back to playing at a high level regardless of what I was told.

I worked very hard prior to and after both knee replacements because I wanted to defy the odds. I worked with physical therapists several times per week supplementing those sessions with strong workouts in a fitness gym and using treadmill and stretching techniques in my house.

Six months after the second knee surgery at the HSS, I began shooting. Around 9 months later I resumed playing full court basketball, twice a week, 3 hours each session, with men 30 years younger then me and holding my own.

I am a living, breathing and playing testimonial to an individual who found the right surgeon in Dr. Mayman, found the right hospital in the HSS and added to this a very high level of determination to play ball competitively again.


It has been three years since I had my last total knee replacement surgery. I was 62 at the time and now I am one month shy of becoming 65. My first total knee replacement surgery was at age 59. I was told that I would never play competitive full court basketball again. Since having my left knee completely replaced by Dr. Mayman 3 years ago at the highly respected Hospital for Special Surgery, I have played full court competitive basketball twice a week for three hours at a time with men in their 30’s. It tallies up to 1500 plus full court games, and 18,000 plus minutes and countless miles back and forth.

I have absolutely no pain, no stiffness, good range of motion, can jump, can run, can cut, can box out and rebound with no problems. I even shoot with ease and scoring like a pro (in my dreams). Add to this the hundreds of hours on the treadmill and the time I spend on the leg weight machines putting pressure pin my knees … and I feel powerful. Several of my b-ball friends have approached HSS to seek consultations and operations for legs and hips as I have become a walking, talking, playing advertisement for this type of surgery. I always tell them the same thing: I was very fortunate to have found an excellent orthopedic surgeon in Dr. Mayman and that I was blessed to have found a great hospital. How many almost 65-year-old’s do you know that can play aggressively and at a high level not having had any surgery at all?

Lastly my aggressive approach to rehabilitation and positive mental attitude combined with the surgical skills of Dr. Mayman and the help of the HSS all combined to help.