Providence Steamrollers HISTORY

Player info
Draft History
Team info
Season records


Quick facts:

Founded:  1946
Folded:   1949
Arena:    Rhode Island Auditorium
          1111 North Main Street
          Providence, Rhode Island
Built in: 1926
Capacity: 5300
Titles:   None
Playoffs: 1

1946-49 BAA Providence Steam Rollers 

Coachs: 4 
Robert Morris    1946-47 
Nat Hickey       1947-48 
Albert Soar      1947-48 
Ken Loeffler     1948-49 

Owner: Louis Pieri

Just plain bad:
The Steamrollers rightfully could be called the worst NBA team in the history of the NBA. In their 3 seasons they managed to win only 46 games out of the 122 that they played in for a 37.7% win percentage.

Fun Facts:
Nat Hickey, 46, is the oldest NBA player ever.

Not so fun Facts:
The Steamroller six wins in 47-48 is still an NBA low.

Its in the name:
The team took its name from the NFL franchise that was also called the Providence Steamrollers which played from 1916-1933. They won the NFL championship in 1928 and are the last NFL champion to no longer be in the league.

Christmas Tradition:
The first ever Christmas day NBA game was between the New York Knicks and the Providence Steamrollers. The Knicks won 89-75.

First Game:
The Steamrollers got off to a respectable start beating the Boston Celtics 59-53 in their first game. The Steamrollers actually fared well vs the Celtics winning 5 of the six meetings that season.

Saving Graces:
With the Steamrollers struggling, owner Lou Pieri sought the advice of Red Auerbach, a upstart young coach of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks ; now the Atlanta Hawks. Auerbach told Pieri that his team needed talent; needed a new arena and a huge infusion of cash to become competitive. Armed with this information as well as his team's dwiddling attendance, Pieri folded the Steamrollers.

In 1950, he was approached by Celtics owner Walter Brown, who was desperately short of cash. Pieri offered a lifeline, an investment to become minority owner in the Boston franchise. However, his offer came with conditions - that Brown hire Auerbach as the Celtics' head coach and that the Celtics play some games in Providence. Brown agreed and Pieri held an interest in the Celtics until 1964

The deal ended up being a saving grace for the Celtics and for Auerbach, who guided Boston to 9 NBA titles and is considered one of the greatest coaches in NBA History.

Rhode Island Auditorium

Bob Hubbard

Ernie Calverley

Kenny Sailors

Pittsburgh vs Providence.

Steamrollers Game Programs

Ernie Calverly goes for a layup vs the Chicago Stags

Head coach Hank Soar with Dino Martin (4), George Nostrand(14) Hank Beenders(6) and another player in 1947.


  • NBA History
  • Defunct NBA Teams
  • Rhode Island Auditorium