For three years, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) competed to win players and fans. However, on August 3, 1949, the world witnessed an unbelievable twist of events. The two teams merged to create the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The Fast-rising BAA
After incorporation in 1946, the Basketball Association of America challenged the National Basketball League’s nine-year-old supremacy. The Basketball Association of America could play in bigger cities while the NBL played in smaller cities such as Sheboygan, Akron and Fort Wayne. In addition, NBL held its games in small gymnasiums as the uprising BAA played in large market areas such as Boston Garden.
The BAA started attracting new players because it assured them of better payment. As a result, four NBL members, Indianapolis, Rochester, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, and their star players, joined BAA.
The defection of George Mikan to the new league was a big blow for NBL. Mikan joined the new club together with the Minneapolis Lakers. NBL members were unhappy with the sudden loss of its essential members. Therefore, they saw the necessity to solve their rivalry with the fast-rising team, BAA.
The Inception of NBA
On August 3, 1949, representatives from each team met at the BAA’s offices in New York. Fortunately, they were able to finish the merger. The head of BAA, Maurice Podoloff, was given the responsibility of heading the newly established league, the NBA. The NBA comprised 17 teams that played across the country. The 17 teams represented both large and small cities.