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Professional Basketball League of America

Atlanta Crackers
Birmingham Skyhawks
Chattanooga Majors
Chicago Gears
Grand Rapids
Houston Mavericks
Kansas City Blues
Louisville Colonels
New Orleans Hurricanes
Omaha Omahawks
Springfield Squires
St. Joseph Outlaws
St Paul Saints
Tulsa Ranchers
Waterloo Pro-Hawks

League Leaders

The Professional Basketball League of America or PBLA was a short lived basketball league that existed in 1947. Initially going to have a 60 game schedule with 30 games at home and 30 games on the road, the league lasted just three weeks before folding.

All the teams were owned by Maurice White, who had also owned the Chicago American Gears in the National Basketball League. White had hoped to parlay his success from the NBL into a much bigger and more national league. White had also hoped that by having the best player in basketball, George Mikan, that he would be able to corner the market.

At the time of the founding of the PBLA there were three other major professional basketball leagues in the United States. The oldest, the ABL, was having trouble staying afloat and focused mostly in the northeast. The NBL, for which the Gears had been part of, was the most successful and had been around for over a decade and had the best players. The newest of the three leagues, the BAA, was a league white had discredited and thought he would be able to beat out handily. White proved to be dead wrong as his league would fold after only a few games, and the BAA would go on to merge with the NBL to form the still very functioning NBA.

The PBLA for its short history is still important, and its collapse would play a huge factor in the merger of the BAA and NBL as well as the eventual success of the NBA.

George Mikan, who was the leagues best player and most recognized face, and the most recognized face of the early NBA, would get to the Lakers because of events of the PBLA. When the PBLA the NBL got the rights to the PBLA players, and the worst of the NBL teams would get the first pick. The worst NBL team from the previous season was the Detroit Gems, who had won just 4 games. The Gems had moved during the off-season to Minneapolis and became the Lakers.

Many interesting people would be associated with the PBLA; besides Mikan. Dutch Dehnert, one of the great Original Celtics would be the general manager of the Chattanooga Majors, and the eventual 38th president of the United State Gerald Ford Jr was the general manger of Grand Rapids.

Founder:             Maurice A. White
Executive Directors: Maurice A. White
                     Walter S. Aftemeier
                     R.C. Becker
                     Harry A. Foote
Commissioner:        Holland C. Pile

Director of Public Relations:  John Harrington
Director of Radio Relations:   John Harrington
Director of Press Relations:   Charles Wiley
Publicist:                     Robert Curley
Field Supervisor:              O.R. Frost
League Trainer:                Jack Goldie
Ticket Manager:                William O'Neill
Field Representatives:         C. Guy Grimm
                               Sid Goldberg
                               Dee Sparr
Statistician:                  William Karger
Traffic Manager:               E.E. McCullough