The first game of the National Basketball League, its five stars and its journey to date.
The NBA it knew how to establish itself as the benchmark basketball league worldwide. However, it was a process of many years that he had to go through until he managed to gain the weight that he has today. How was it born and who was its creator? Here is a review of its entire history.
The end of the Second World War meant the end of a time full of terror and pain, to begin that the people of USA re-familiarize yourself with sports step by step. The baseball, football and ice hockey they were the top three that managed to capture the attention of American citizens. However, a sport that was just beginning and that only had attention in the universities began to take center stage: the basketball.
How was the first season of professional basketball in the US born?
Despite basketball being a relatively new sport and without much reaching the public, the need to fill the empty calendar in sports venues motivated entrepreneurs to create a new league. Boston Garden, with a capacity of 15 thousand people, it used to be the house of Boston Bruins de la NHL since 1928. However, outside of the hockey season, that space was unused. It was like this, that its owner Walter Brown, decided to give it a new use. The main candidate was basketball, which – of all those played indoors – stood out from the rest.
Quickly, there were several leaders who found themselves with the same problem, and who did not hesitate to join Brown’s idea in order to manage the maintenance costs that the stadium had. It was so Ned Irish with the Madison Square Garden de New York, Al Sutphin with the Cleveland Arena, John Harris with the Duquesne Gardens de Pittsburgh, Pat Tyrell with the Philadelphia Arena y Frank Selke with the Maple Leaf Gardens from Toronto, among others, they became the eleven owners who came together with the same goal: create the Basketall Association of America (BAA).
The next problem for these leaders was to find a commissioner to run the competition, and it was thus that the name Maurice Podoloff showed up. He took care of the American Hockey League, And despite not having any knowledge of the new sport, the experience gained in his league was enough for him to be in command of the administration.
When was the first BAA game played?
The November 1, 1946 it will be marked as the beginning of a new era. And it is that on that same date, the first basketball league game between the Knicks (68) and Huskies (66) in the Canadian Maple Leaf. The first season of the BAA was starred by Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, New York Knicks, Washington Capitols, Providence Steamrollers, Toronto Huskies, Chicago Stags, St. Louis Bombers, Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons y Pittsburgh Ironmen.
The first conflicts of the BAA
Despite the fact that everything seemed to be heading, an inconvenience involved the leaders: low attendance. And it is that although it was an expected problem due to the low roots in the franchises by their cities, the main conflict was in George Mikan, the first superstar in the basketball world.
Graduated from De Paul University, his passage through professionalism took place in the 1946-47 season, playing for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League (NBL), a competition focused on the Midwest. Despite not being the only figure, if he was the star of the moment, thus taking all the attention that the BAA. Its failure began to be notorious after three franchises disappeared: Pittsburgh, Detroit y Cleveland, leaving the league with only eight competitors.
The birth of the NBA
The alarms that went off for the beginning of the demise of the BAA made Podoloff make a decision that would change the future of the league: recruit the stars that the competition had, taking advantage of its weak point, the lack of stadiums. Thus, after several days of meetings, the Rochester Royals, the Fort Wayne Pistons, the Indianapolis Kautskys and most importantly, the Minneapolis Lakers – with Mikan at the helm – took the big leap.
This desperate fusion caused the take off from the BAA. Already with recognized figures and the event practiced in the most important cities of the country, success did not hesitate to begin to arrive. In 1949, the rest of the LNB teams ended up passing, causing it to be made up of 17 franchises. Finally, as a celebration of this new victory, it was decided to rename the BAA as the National Basketball League, better known as the NBA.
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