The Birth of the Modern NBA

Pro Basketball in the Year of the Merger, 1949-1950

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SKU: 9781476694177 Categories: ,

About the Book

On August 3, 1949, the National Basketball Association was born, comprising 17 organizations that ranged geographically from Boston to Denver and culturally from Manhattan to Sheboygan. The league being the result of a merger, there were two different reigning champions vying for NBA supremacy between the George Mikan–led Minneapolis Lakers and the small-town Anderson Packers, with teams from Syracuse, Rochester, New York, Chicago, and Indianapolis all hoping to upset the apple cart enough to take both teams down.
This history of the BAA–NBL merger that created the NBA demonstrates that, amid icy executive relations that reflected the league’s larger cultural clash between bustling East Coast metropolises and quiet Midwestern towns, the relentless march toward integration sneaking up quicker than expected on the segregated league, and the Second World War still distinctly visible in the rearview mirror and America’s involvement in Korea closer than it may have appeared, it was what lay just beyond basketball that mattered. From Tony Lavelli’s halftime accordion, Lee Knorek’s airport escapades, and Chicago Stags owner John Sbarbaro’s Capone–era mob ties to tales of antisemitism, systemic racism, and prisoners of war—with cameos from Jackie Robinson, Chuck Connors, and President Gerald Ford—the book brings back to life, in its totality, the NBA as it was nearly 75 years ago in the year of the merger.

About the Author(s)

Josh Elias is a sports historian specializing in basketball’s integration era and prior. He lives in Southern Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Josh Elias
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9417-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5242-9
Imprint: McFarland