Saturday, February 16, 2013

the last book I ever read (David George Surdam's The Rise of the National Basketball Association, excerpt six)

from The Rise of the National Basketball Association by David George Surdam:

After further negotiations failed, the two leagues played their 1948-49 seasons. The NBL was withering, but the BAA was not thriving either. On August 3, 1949, the two leagues merged and the BAA was renamed the NBA. At first there were eighteen teams, and the league planned on having two divisions. Before the 1949-50 season opened, though, there were just seventeen teams, which were split into three divisions, as one of the original BAA member teams, the Providence Steamrollers, folded. The Indianapolis Jets (formerly Kautskys) folded but were replaced by the Indianapolis Olympians, a team partly owned by 1948 Olympians Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, and Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones. At the insistence of Ned Irish and other surviving original BAA owners, the new refugees from the NBAL were placed in the same division. This meant the Knicks, Celtics, and Warriors would not be irritated by playing the likes of the Sheboygan Red Skins, Waterloo Hawks, Anderson Packers, and Tri-Cities Blackhawks very often. As Leonard Koppett describes it, “The details of the merger were of staggering complexity, a conglomeration whose instability was obvious to the most casual fan as well as to those involved.”

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