Basketball historian and Penn State professor emeritus Murry Nelson (The National Basketball League: A History) returns to the podcast – this time to dive into the deep end of one of the modern-day NBA’s most important formative tributaries.
The National Basketball League was forged out of an industrial collective of independent “company teams” that dotted the Midwest in the mid-1930s – and through the corporate patronage of firms like Goodyear, Firestone and General Electric, became a full-time pro hoops circuit that eventually stretched from Syracuse to Denver – with a hefty dollop of smaller markets in between. Teams like the Oshkosh (WI) All-Stars, Anderson (IN) Duffy Packers, Tri-Cities (IA) Blackhawks, and Toledo (OH)-based Jim White Chevrolets – along with star players like the lane-dominating Leroy “Cowboy” Edwards, long-range shooting ace Bobby McDermott, and the pro game’s first true “big man” George Mikan – broke new ground, and spawned the launch of an even bigger-market competitor (the Basketball Association of America, in 1946) that ultimately resulted in a 1949 merger that yielded what we now know as the National Basketball Association.
Today’s Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and Philadelphia 76ers all emanated directly from the NBL – although you might not know it, given the NBA’s tilted version of basketball history, as Nelson tells host Tim Hanlon in this enlightening episode.
Out thanks to Podfly and Audible for their support of the show!
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