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The Basketball Association of America (BAA) was a professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946. The league merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949, forming the National Basketball Association (NBA), which became one of the four major North American professional sports leagues, which include Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The BAA played three season with a total of 16 teams participating. The Philadelphia Warriors won the inaugural BAA championship in 1947, followed by the Baltimore Bullets and the Minneapolis Lakers in 1948 and 1949 respectively. Six teams from the BAA are still active in the NBA as of the 2009–10 season.

History

The Maple Leaf Gardens hosted the first game of the BAA.
The BAA was founded in New York Citymarker on June 6, 1946, by the owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeast and Midwest United Statesmarker. On June 6, 1946, Maurice Podoloff, who was already serving as president of the American Hockey League, was appointed president of the BAA, becoming the first person to simultaneously lead two professional leagues. The league started with 11 professional basketball teams, which played in a 60-game regular season followed by the playoffs and the final series to determine the league winner.

Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League (ABL) and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play primarily in large arenas in major cities, such as Madison Square Gardenmarker and Boston Gardenmarker. 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, both the 1948 and 1949 titles were won by teams that had played in the other leagues during the previous year, the Baltimore Bullets in 1948 and the Minneapolis Lakers in 1949.

1946–47 season

The league started with 11 teams, which were divided into two divisions, the Eastern Division and the Western Division. Each team played 60 or 61 regular season games. The best three teams from each division advance to the playoffs. The two division winners received first round bye and qualified directly to the semifinals while the two second-placed teams and two third-placed teams contest a best-of-3 quarterfinal and semifinal. Eastern Division winner, the Washington Capitols, who had the best record with 49 wins, were defeated in the best-of-7 semifinal by the Western Division winner, the Chicago Stags. The Stags advanced to the finals along with the Philadelphia Warriors who defeated the New York Knickerbockers in the other semifinal. The final series were also played in a best-of-7 format. The Warriors won the inaugural BAA championship by winning the series 4–1.

On November 1, 1946, at the Maple Leaf Gardensmarker in Torontomarker, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers, which the NBA now regards as the league's first official game. In the opening game of the BAA, Ossie Schectman scored the opening basket for the Knickerbockers.

1947–48 season

Before the season started, the Cleveland Rebels, Detroit Falcons, Pittsburgh Ironmen and the Toronto Huskies folded, leaving the BAA with only seven teams. The Baltimore Bullets joined the league from the ABL. The Bullets were assigned to the Western Division, while the Washington Capitols were reassigned to the Western Division to even the divisions. Prior to the start of the season, the league held their inaugural draft on July 1, 1947. Each team played 48 regular season games. The 1948 Playoffs followed the same format as the previous year. Eastern Division winner, the Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Western Division winner, St. Louis Bombers, who had the best record in the regular season with 29 wins. In the finals, the Warriors were defeated by the Bullets 4–2.

1948–49 season

Prior to the start of the season, four teams from the NBL, the Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Jets, Minneapolis Lakers and the Rochester Royals, joined the BAA. The league was realigned into a two six-team divisions. Each team played 60 regular season games. The Eastern Division was won by the Washington Capitols who had 38 wins, while the Western Division was dominated by the two new teams, the Royals and the Lakers who had 45 and 44 wins respectively. The 1949 Playoffs were expanded to include eight teams. The four best teams from each division contested in divisional semifinals and divisional finals to find each division winners. The two division winners then advanced to the finals. The divisional semifinals and finals were played in a best-of-3 format while the final series were played in the best-of-7 format. The Lakers defeated the Royals to became the inaugural Western Division winner. In the other divisional final, the Capitols defeated the New York Knicks to became the inaugural Eastern Division winner. The Lakers then won the finals by defeating the Capitols 4–2.

Formation of the NBA

On August 3, 1949, the BAA agreed to merge with the NBL, creating the National Basketball Association (NBA). The six remaining NBL teams were absorbed into the BAA, which then had ten teams after the Indianapolis Jets and the Providence Steamrollers folded prior to the merge. The Indianapolis Olympians, a planned expansion team for the NBL, also joined the newly-formed league. In total, the new league had 17 teams located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas, smaller gymnasiums, and armories. Prior to the merge, the league held the 1949 Draft on March 21, which was the last event held under the name BAA.

Teams

^ Denotes a franchise that currently playing in the NBA


Team City Years
active
Seasons
played
Win–loss
record
Winning
percentage
Playoffs
appearances
Championship
wins
Reference
Baltimore Bullets Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker 1947–49 2 57–51 .528 2 1
Boston Celtics^ Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker 1946–49 3 67–101 .399 1 0
Chicago Stags Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker 1946–49 3 105–64 .621 3 0
Cleveland Rebels Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker 1946–47 1 30–30 .500 1 0
Detroit Falcons Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker 1946–47 1 20–40 .333 0 0
Fort Wayne Pistons^ Fort Waynemarker, Indianamarker 1948–49 1 22–38 .367 0 0
Indianapolis Jets Indianapolismarker, Indianamarker 1948–49 1 18–42 .300 0 0
Minneapolis Lakers^ Minneapolismarker, Minnesotamarker 1948–49 1 44–16 .733 1 1
New York Knickerbockers^ New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker 1946–49 3 91–77 .542 3 0
Philadelphia Warriors^ Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker 1946–49 3 90–78 .536 3 1
Pittsburgh Ironmen Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker 1946–47 1 15–45 .250 0 0
Providence Steamrollers Providencemarker, Rhode Islandmarker 1946–49 3 46–122 .274 0 0
Rochester Royals^ Rochestermarker, New Yorkmarker 1948–49 1 45–15 .750 1 0
St. Louis Bombers St. Louismarker, Missourimarker 1946–49 3 96–73 .568 3 0
Toronto Huskies Torontomarker, Ontariomarker 1946–47 1 22–38 .367 0 0
Washington Capitols Washington, D.C.marker 1946–49 3 115–53 .685 3 0


  • Not affiliated with the present-day Washington Wizards, which were known as the Baltimore Bullets from 1963 to 1973
  • Currently known as the Detroit Pistons
  • Currently known as the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Currently known as the Golden State Warriors
  • Currently known as the Sacramento Kings


Awards

The All-BAA Team was an annual BAA honor bestowed on the best players in the league following every season. The All-BAA Team was composed of two five-man lineups—a first and second team, comprising a total of 10 roster spots. The players were selected without regard to position.

* Denotes player who has been inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has been selected


All-BAA Team
Season First team Second team
Players Teams Players Teams
Joe Fulks* Philadelphia Warriors Ernie Calverley Providence Steamrollers
Bob Feerick Washington Capitols Frank Baumholtz Cleveland Rebels
Stan Miasek Detroit Falcons Johnny Logan St. Louis Bombers
Bones McKinney Washington Capitols Chick Halbert Chicago Stags
Max Zaslofsky Chicago Stags Fred Scolari Washington Capitols
Joe Fulks* (2) Philadelphia Warriors Johnny Logan (2) St. Louis Bombers
Max Zaslofsky (2) Chicago Stags Carl Braun New York Knicks
Ed Sadowski Boston Celtics Stan Miasek (2) Detroit Falcons
Howie Dallmar Philadelphia Warriors Fred Scolari (2) Washington Capitols
Bob Feerick (2) Washington Capitols Buddy Jeannette* Baltimore Bullets
George Mikan* Minneapolis Lakers Arnie Risen* Rochester Royals
Joe Fulks* (3) Philadelphia Warriors Bob Feerick (3) Washington Capitols
Bob Davies* Rochester Royals Bones McKinney Washington Capitols
Max Zaslofsky (3) Chicago Stags Ken Sailors Providence Steamrollers
Jim Pollard* Minneapolis Lakers Johnny Logan (3) St. Louis Bombers


References




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