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Professional Basketball League of America

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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

PBLA Articles
History of the Westward Expansion of Basketball

Basketball's early roots on the east coast are well document, from that cold December day in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 when the game first formed to the present, we know the stories, the players and the histories. What is less known is how the game developed out west. While at the time of basketball's founding the east was pretty much an established mega-industrial center catering to the worlds needs. The west, it was still wild and untamed.

When James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 the United States states had just 44 states and Wyoming and Idaho had just joined the Union. Three states that would join the union after the founding of basketball, Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona, now contain NBA teams. The battle of Wounded Knee, the last great battle between the United States Army and the Native American's had happened just shy of a year before the game of basketball was invented. And the infamous gun fight at the OK Corral had happened just a decade before. In fact, the early days of basketball are closer in time to the French Revolution than they are to today.

It is easy to see why basketball's roots began in the east and why it has stuck and become such an integral part of the urban landscape. The east had the infrastructure and had young men with free time to play the game and form leagues. In contrast, the west lacked the roads, rails, and metropolitan areas to give rise to the infrastructure that is required to play basketball.

Complete Article