The National Basketball League was the biggest professional league in the Midwest, and the American Basketball League ruled the east. With World War 2 over, the American economy was beginning to hum, moving into a period of unprecedented growth. The popularity of professional sports was increasing by leaps and bounds. Baseball was as popular as ever, and the NFL was making its way into more and more American's Sundays. The NHL was doing well, and the owners of NHL's six franchises were looking for a way to fill their arenas on non-hockey nights. The solution was a new professional basketball league. Five of the NHL's owners were joined with owners from six other cities to form a basketball league that would play a more structured schedule than the NBL with more games in larger venues, and would invade the backyard of both the NBL and ABL. It did not take long for the BAA to become the more successful league. The Lakers, Pistons and Royals defected from the NBL to the BAA in 1948, and the Blackhawks and the Nationals joined the BAA after the 1948-49 season and the BAA became the NBA. The ABL was forced out of existence by the early 1950's as the NBA became the preeminent professional basketball league.
The NHL owners had their five BAA franchises (Montreal decided against putting up a team): the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, the Detroit Falcons, the Chicago Stags and the Toronto Huskies. They were joined by the Cleveland Rebels, the St. Louis Bombers, the Pittsburgh Ironmen, the Washington Capitols, the Philadelphia Warriors and the Providence Steam Rollers.