Syracuse Nationals HISTORY

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Quick facts:

Founded:    1946 
Relocated:  1963
NBL Titles: 0
NBA Titles: 1  1955  
Playoffs:   13

The Nationals began in 1946 when Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone spent $5,000 to buy the rights to found the team in the NBL. The Nationals were the NBL's eastern most team and were partly formed to counter the rival BAA's presence in major cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

The Nationals, along with the NBL, merged with the BAA in 1949 to form the NBA. The Nationals found success behind superstar Dolph Schayes. Schayes would lead the Nationals to the franchises first title in 1955.

In 1963, following the Warriors relocation to San Francisco, the Nationals moved to Philadelphia and became the Sixers.

Leo Ferris: The man who saved the NBA

The early days of basketball often seen slow fan-unfriendly low scoring matches that often left spectators bored. Games often only got into the 40s and many of the best players averaged less than 15 points a game. Many early basketball games looked more like a glorified version of the childrens game of keep-away than an action packed professional sport. This style of play culminated in a game between Minneapolis and Fort Wayne, where the Pistons of Fort Wayne held the ball most of the second half nursing a 1 point lead over the Lakers. The Pistons would win 19-18 in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Prior to that the fewest points ever score 33 points, just 4 fewer than both teams scored, and that game was one the opening night of the NBA, or BAA as it was called back then.

This place pace bored fans, many of whom where promised an action packed fun experience and attendance and interest in the new league had begun to dip. The NBA needed a solution and needed it fast. The solution was an ingenious one and one that would revolutionize the game as we know it. A simple clock, with just 24 seconds on it would forever change the game.

The clock was the brain child of Syracuse Nationals general manager Leo Ferris, a man that the NBA has long forgotten in one of the biggest travesties in the games history. Ferris, is as important to the early days of the NBA as anyone and one could argue that without Ferris there would be no NBA today; and there definitely would be no Atlanta Hawks, or Philadelphia 76ers. The NBA would look much different today without Ferris's input all those years ago.

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NBA Pioneer Dolph Schayes Passes Away at Age 87

Schayes was a star big man in his basketball career for the Syracuse Nationals, the precursor to the Philadelphia 76ers. Thought, unlike, other bigs of his era, Schayes possessed the ball handling skills of a guard. His ball handling and passing ability made him nearly unstoppable and ranks him second in the early NBA era of big men behind only George Mikan.

He was drafted by the Knicks of the BAA and by the Waterloo Hawks of the NBL, but the Hawks sold his rights to the Syracuse Nationals. The Nationals offered Schayes more money than the Knicks, so high signed there instead of joining the bigger market Knicks.

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Al Cervi

Red Kerr vs Wilt Chamberlain

Nations celebrate title.

Joe Holup goes for a layup against Maurice Stokes.