Quick facts: Founded: 1946 Folded: 1950 Arena: Chicago Stadium Address: 65 W. Madison, Chicago, Il Built in: 1929 Capacity: 17,317 Titles: None Playoffs: 4 1946-49 BAA Chicago Stags 1949-50 NBA Chicago Stags Coachs: 2 Harold Olsen 1946-48 Philip Brownstein 1948-50Naming:
According to some news articles at the time the original name for the Stags was the Atomics, and indeed a Chicago Atomics team did exist, they beat the Knicks in an exhibition game. It appears that the teams name was changed to Stags shortly before the start of the first BAA season.
The name Atomics chosen likely due to the fact that the very first nuclear chain reaction test was carried out at the University of Chicago during World War II
One theory as why Stags was chosen and not Atomics is due to the cold war tensions at the time. When the BAA kicked off in November 1946, it was just over a year since the US dropped the atomic bombs on Japan effectively ending World War II. The Cold War had just begun and the threat of nuclear annihilation was ever present.
The name was temporarily changed to Chicago Basketball Club, Inc., but that name was likely a place holder until Stags was chosen. However, the team did play one game under Chicago Basketball Club, Inc. Stags may pay homage to Amos Alonzo Stagg, a hall-of-fame coach in both college basketball and college football. Stagg was the head football coach at the University of Chicago for 40 years, coached baseball at the school for 19 years, and oversaw the basketball program in 1921,
The double entendre of Stags (Stagg) would help connect the new team to the sports history of the city of Chicago.
What could have been:
When the Midwest Basketball Conference formed in 1935 the Duffy Florals played in the city, and even made the playoffs, but when the league re-organized into the National Basketball League in 1937 the Florals were not included.
Chicago got another team a few years later when the Bruins joined the NBL. The Bruins had previously played in Chicago in the ABL. The Bruins lasted 2 seasons before being renamed the Studebaker-Flyers and going defunct because of World War II.
When the BAA formed in 1946 the city of Chicago was awarded the Stags, who would make it to the BAA finals in 1946. Despite being successful on the court the Stags lasted only 3 seasons in the BAA and one more in the NBA before disbanded.
The NBA would try with Chicago again in 1961 with the Chicago Packers, who became the Zephyrs the following season. After just two seasons the team packed up and moved to the Washington DC area and became the Bullets.
Chicago would get its last NBA team in 1966 with the Bulls. The Bulls have been the most successful team winning six NBA championships in the 1990s.
During prohibition, Sbarbaro was known to store large quantities of alcohol in his funeral home. Funeral homes at the time were one of the few industries that could still use alcohol, and Sbarbaro took advantage of this. He was known to associate with many notorious Chicago gangsters including Al Capone. His ties to the mafia were close enough that one of his funeral homes was bombed by a rival group in the 1930s.