National Basketball League
The National Basketball League or NBL was a professional basketball league in the United States. The league was founded in 1937 and later merged with the Basketball Association of America or BAA in 1949 to form the National Basketball Association or NBA.
When the NBL was founded in 1937, it started with thirteen previously independent teams. The league was formerly known as the Midwest Basketball Conference in 1935 but they later changed their name in 1937 in an attempt to attract a larger audience.
The NBL was created by three corporations namely General Electric, Fireston and Goodyear. The NBL was comprised primarily of Great Lakes area small-market and corporate teams. The beginning of the league was quite informal. Scheduling was not done professionally but was left to the discretion of each of the nine teams. The league was fine as long as the team played at least ten games with four of them on the road. The games in the NBL consisted of either four ten-minute quarters or three fifteen-minute periods, with the decision residing on the home team.
NBL history falls into three eras namely the early years, middle years and later years. The early years of the NBL centered on the Oshkosh All-Stars. The middle years witnessed the emergence of the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. This team was instrumental in the survival of the NBA during its infant years. The later years noted the NBL’s existence centered on George Mikan, the dominant player in the game.
Before the NBL was no more, it contributed significantly to the foundation of the NBA, people know and love today. One of its more notable accomplishments was their offering of opportunities to African-American players.
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