Friday, November 1, 2013

Basketball Association of America Is Born


On Nov. 1, 1946, professional basketball was officially born.

The Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.

On Nov. 1, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now regards as the first played in its history.

Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities.

During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not significantly better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters.

For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, and the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title.

On August 3, 1949, the BAA agreed to merge with the NBL, creating the new National Basketball Association.

The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories.

In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises, all of which are still in the league (the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Royals/Kings, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and Nationals/76ers). 

The process of contraction saw the league's smaller-city franchises move to larger cities. The Hawks shifted from "Tri-Cities" (the area now known as the Quad Cities) to Milwaukee (in 1951) and then to St. Louis, Missouri (in 1955); the Royals from Rochester, New York to Cincinnati (in 1957); and the Pistons from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Detroit (in 1957).

Since the NBA has been formed the Boston Celtics have won the most titles with 17.