The National Basketball League was a professional basketball league in the United States from 1937 to 1949. The NBL started with 13 previously independent teams in 1937-38. The league was created by three corporations General Electric,Firestone and Goodyear. The league was made up mostly by teams in small Great Lakes towns and corporate teams. The NBL lasted 12 years before merging with the three-year-old Basketball Association of America in 1949 which was renamed the National Basketball Association.
Five current NBA teams can trace their history back to the NBL. Los Angeles Lakers, then the Minneapolis Lakers; Sacramento Kings then the Rochester Royals; Detroit Pistons,then the Ft.Wayne Pistons; joined the NBA in 1948. The Atlanta Hawks,then the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Philadelphia 76ers then the Syracuse Nationals joined the NBA in 1949.
Also still surviving is the Akron Wingfoots, the initial NBL Champion in 1938. The Wingfoots suspended operations for WWII and were not included in the NBL/BAA merger. Instead they remained in the National Indistrial Basketball League (NIBL), which in 1961 became the National AAU Basketball League (NABL). The Wingfoots are still an AAU Elite team in the NABL.
The top-level Australian professional basketball league is also known as the "National Basketball League". See National Basketball League (Australia).
National Basketball League Champions
NBL Teams 1937-49