The Undisputed Guide to Po Basketball History
Discover interesting basketball facts from NBA history I bet you didn't know!
See how far NBA basketball has come since the league was originally formed.
Want to see how it all started? NBA History: Setting the Stage
Though there's disagreement among historians about when the first NBA game was played, many believe it took place in 1896 at the Masonic Hall in Trenton, N.J. Each player took home a whopping $15 from gate receipts... except the captain who earned $16!
William Sheffer is credited with forming the first professional basketball league in 1898. It was called the Philadelphia League. Unfortunately, the small league died out within 5 years.
But a seed was planted, and the idea grew...
A short time later, the Eastern League came along which opened the door for a slew of new leagues to pop up between 1906 and 1929:
Hudson River League
New York State League
Western Pennsylvania League
Pennsylvania State League
Metropolitan Basketball League
American Basketball League
As hard as the leagues tried, most of them just couldn't attract the attention they needed to survive.
The first team to really change all that was the New York Celtics, founded in 1912. After World War I ended, the Celtics went on a barnstorming tour of the East Coast where they played 200 games a year.
Can you imagine!
In 1924, they had an astounding record of 204-11. Needless to say, they got everyone's attention.
The Celtics were truly revolutionary. They were the first pro franchise to offer exclusive contracts and guarantee salaries. They were the first team in NBA history to use the give-and-go offense, pivot plays, and a switching man-to-man defense.
In 1925, George Preston Marshall formed the American Basketball League in an attempt to put some stability into the pro game.
The Celtics refused to join the new league, so the ABL prohibited any of its member teams to play them.
The Celtics were forced to join the league to survive, so the 1926-27 ABL season opened with 8 teams: Baltimore, Cleveland, Fort Wayne, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, Washington and Chicago.
The Celtics dominated the league for the first couple of years to the point that attendance at games started to decline. As a result, the team was broken up and players were dispersed to other teams. The league continued to flounder though and died at the end of the 1931 season.
But that's not the end of the story...