Lasting from 1935 to 1949, the National Basketball League (NBL) was the first major professional basketball league in North American history. For such an historically important league to the eventual formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the NBL is routinely overlooked. Particularly, information on the league is hard to come by on the internet. Even the information that’s available is presented in unremarkable fashion.
Information on the NBL should be widely available and aesthetically accessible. Over the next couple of months I’ll be working diligently to rectify this situation. This project is in its embryonic stages and this is merely the first step in creating this important warehouse for the NBL’s history.
The first step of this project is fairly simple and the least any proper digital history site can do. A recap for every single season of the NBL’s history will be created. These recaps will present the league champion, the playoff results, point leaders, and overall team records.
Next, brief biographies on the history of every member team of the NBL will be presented. Some of these teams lasted for what seems like a split second (Cincinnati Comellos) while others were stalwarts of the NBL (Sheboygan Redskins) while others still survive to this day in modified forms (Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers). Whatever their fate, the fate will be presented.
The final piece of this project, at least for now, is to present brief biographies for each of the important players in the NBL’s history. From George Mikan, Bob McDermott and Leroy Edwards to Bob Davies, Al Cervi and Chuck Chuckovits the important players will have their highlight moments recalled.
Throughout all of these components, compelling visual aids will be used to convey the importance of these players, these franchises and this league to basketball’s development.
In addition to this main portion of the project, I’ll take notice of just how the NBA currently acknowledges its NBL heritage. How richly and proudly does the current basketball powerhouse centered in New York City value its Midwestern roots in Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio? If the NBA doesn’t value this history, why is that the case? What is gained or lost for the NBA in recognizing or obliterating the heritage of the NBL?
These questions will guide the larger project. The digitization of much hard-to-find information is only a tactic in the larger goal of restoring the NBL to the basketball public’s memory. Or at least to the basketball historians, journalists and bloggers who often serve as the drivers of basketball discussions. By changing the narrative and origins of the NBA a more comprehensive and appreciative look at basketball’s development can be ascertained.