On November 1, 1946, the New York Knickerbockers beat the Toronto Huskies in the first NBA game, 68-66. The Knickerbockers are led by guard Leo Gottlieb, who scored 14 points in the game played before 7,090 fans at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Although they lost to the Knickerbockers (now known as the Knicks), the Huskies had the game’s highest scorers: big men Ed Sadowski (18 points) and George Norstrand (16 points). The latter was the center of a marketing campaign to draw fans to the game—a newspaper ad offered free admission for any fan who stood taller than the 6-foot-8 Norstrand. The more vertically challenged fans bought tickets that ranged from 75 cents to $2.50.
In 1946, the NBA (National Basketball Association) was known as the BAA (Basketball Association of America). It became the NBA in 1949 after it merged with the NBL (National Basketball League).
In 1946, the league was composed of 11 franchises, only two of which—the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks—remain in the same location today. The Huskies were the only Canadian team in the league, whose players all were white. The first Black player in the league was Earl Lloyd, who debuted on October 31, 1950.
The Knickerbockers finished the season third in the Eastern Division with a 32-27 record. The Huskies finished 22-38, last in the Eastern Division. The Philadelphia Warriors won the league title.
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