On August 3, 1949, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the National Basketball Association.
The meeting held at the Empire State Building in New York City was run by representatives from each of the basketball organizations. Their goal was to come to come together rather than the rivals getting into a ‘turf war’ on the national scale.
The NBL came together in 1937 to allow the sport to grow to the national stage. There were teams in bigger cities like Chicago and Minneapolis, but smaller cities like Oshkosh, Wisconsin and Waterloo, Iowa. A majority of the teams were in cities with lower populations, giving them a smaller fan base. New York, the nation’s largest city was not represented in the league.
Most teams were only around for a few years and then disappeared or moved. Eventually the league got too small, and another group of people had a different idea of how to run things.
The BAA was formed on June 6, 1946. The idea was to bring income to the venues as well as the cities in the fall and winter. Basketball was paired with the American Hockey League for seasonal play. New York was included on the list of cities that ended up with teams as well as big cities like Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh. After one season a handful of the teams folded.
Both leagues were having trouble staying together. The thought was to work together rather than fight and watch both leagues collapse in the end. That was the night the NBA became a reality. There were originally 17 teams, but by the 1954-55 season, there were only eight left. The 24 second clock became a part of the game and the pace started to get faster. Fans started to become interested in the sport. Now there are 30 franchises and there are fans all over the world.