This article is for quizzes on Tuesday September 22nd...

In 1946, Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone sent a $5,000 check to the National Basketball League offices in Chicago, and the Syracuse Nationals became the largely Midwest-based league's easternmost team, based in the Upstate New York city of Syracuse. The Syracuse Nationals began play in the NBL in the same year professional basketball was finally gaining some legitimacy with the rival Basketball Association of America that was based in large cities like New York and Philadelphia. While in the NBL with teams largely consisting of small Midwestern towns, the Nationals put together a 21–23 record, finishing in 4th place. In the playoffs, the Nats would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in 4 games.

In their second season, 1947–48, the Nationals would struggle, finishing in 5th place with a 24-36 record. Despite their struggles, the Nats would make the playoffs, getting swept by the Anderson Duffey Packers in 3 straight games.

Several teams began to leave the NBL for the BAA as the foundation for an absorption was laid. Staying in the NBL, the Nationals signed Al Cervi to be player coach as Dolph Schayes made his professional debut, leading the Nats to a winning record for the first time with a record of 41–22. In the playoffs the Nationals would make quick work of the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers, winning the series in 2 straight games. However, in the semifinals the Nats would fall to the Anderson Duffey Packers for the second straight season in 4 games. In 1949, the Nationals were one of seven NBL teams that were absorbed by the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA.

The team would later relocate and become the Philadelphia 76ers. Today the 76ers are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, and one of only eight (out of 23) to survive the league's first decade.

author profile image