|Indianapolis Jets HISTORY|
Arena: Hinkle Feildhouse
Built in: 1928
Formerly: Indiana Kautskys
In 1931 an Indianapolis grocer named Frank Kautsky formed a professional basketball team and named it the Indianapolis Kautskys. After playing in the National Professional Basketball League (1932–33) and the Midwest Basketball Conference (1935–37), the Kautskys became one of the original members of the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1937.
The Jim White Chevrolets and the Indianapolis Kautskys were playing a day game on December 7, 1941 when the loud speaker came on an informed the audience that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor.
Frank Kautsky decided after the 1942 season to suspend operations of his team due to the onset of World War II. He took a lot of public backlash but held tight to his decision. He restarted the team at wars end and is one of the only early teams to ever suspend operations and successful restart them years later.
The team was one of four (along with the Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, and Fort Wayne Pistons) that jumped to the BAA for the 1948–49 season. At that time the team's name was changed to the Indianapolis Jets because the BAA did not allow its teams to have commercial sponsors.
After the 1948-49 season the BAA and the NBL merged to form the National Basketball Association. The Indianapolis Olympians had already been admitted into the NBL, effective with the 1949-50 season. Since the merger meant that there would be two teams from Indianapolis, the Jets ceased operations in favor of the Olympians
124 Free throws in a row:
During the inaugural season of the Midwest Basketball League (1935-36), Kautskys star guard John Wooden would make 124 consecutive free throws, which is still the record today for pro basketball in the United States. The current NBA record is 97 by Michael Williams of Minnesota in 1993.
After making his 99th in a row, owner Frank Kautky, stopped the game and handed Wooden a $100 dollar bill. The money was promptly taken by Wooden's wife.
History of early professional basketball in Indiana |
Before the Indiana Pacers joined the ABA and eventually the NBA, the state of Indiana was the hot bed of professional basketball. From 1935 until 1953 the state hosted no less than 11 different teams in the major professional basketball leagues. Unfortunately, almost all of them would end and leave the state with no professional basketball teams for nearly two decades.
Indiana is synonymy with the game of basketball. The University of Indiana is one of the most storied programs in all of college basketball winning 5 NCAA titles, but it was Purdue who would bring the state its first NCAA basketball title in 1932.
Through out the early years of basketball a lot of fly by night leagues and teams called Indiana home, in fact Indiana even had its own semi-pro league of teams completely made up of teams in the Indianapolis region. It was not until 1935 when the Midwest Basketball Conference formed did the state of Indiana start seeing regular professional basketball at the highest levels and quality
Kautskys vs Bruins circa 1940
Kautsky's promotional ads circa late 1920s