Remember the NBL
I’ve been waiting to send this out for a minute, but an article I wrote for the Washington Post finally got published today!
It’s about my hobby horse: reminding the NBA (and the wider basketball world) that the NBL existed and did wonders for professional basketball in the United States.
I know that many of you faithful readers know the gist of the story, but in my article for the Post, I do drop in several new bits of information, data, and quotes that I haven’t put out publicly before since it was either used in my dissertation or specifically found in the process of writing this piece.
Plus I think it’s a great distillation on why the NBL mattered.
So read it, share it, and enjoy: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/01/21/nba-history-nbl-baa/
Hopefully, you haven’t used up your free articles for the month. If you have, I guess wait until February 1st to read?
And if you aren’t subscribed here, help fill my coffers so I can keep on doing this history thang.
FYI, here's an email exchange I had with the NBA:
From: Michael Funke
Subject: NBA Contact Form Submission
Hello–I just read the Washington Post article about NBA history by Curtis Harris and I fully agree with him. I wrote an article about the NBL Chicago Studebakers back in 1992 and have researched and written my own piece on this issue. It is a disservice to all NBL players that official NBA history ignores the league, and especially a disservice to the Black players who suited up for NBL teams before the NBL-BAA merger in 1949. You called it a merger when it happened and then you revised history. Why? –Michael Funke, Bend, Oregon
Thank you for your note. The National Basketball League is a storied professional basketball league that led the way when it came to integrating professional sports. As you mention, its history remains ingrained in the NBA, as the Lakers, Pistons, Hawks, Kings and 76ers all have roots in the NBL and continue to flourish today.
Thanks again for taking the time to write and for your interest in the NBA.
I agree with everything you said. So, why aren't NBL statistics included in NBA statistics the same way the BAA statistics are included?
Great article. So glad that you got this into the Washington Post. I wrote the Solidarity magazine article who quoted after meeting with four members of the Chicago Studebakers in 1992. I also wrote a similar article to yours a couple months ago and put it on my podcast site, www.theradicalsongbook.com. Just go to the News page and scroll down to find a pdf of the article. Thanks again. It has been bugging me every time I see that 75th anniversary logo! Thanks again, Michael Funke, Bend, Oregon.