Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Midwest Basketball Conference (MBC)

Next, I am going to back a little further, with the Midwest Basketball Conference.

The MBC operated for two seasons in the mid-30's. It was a group of industrial teams all owned by corporations and companies in the Midwest, such as Firestone, U.S. Tire and Hed-Aid. Firestone was largely responsible for organizing the league, and it was what I would term to be a quasi-professional league. The players were paid, but they were also employees of the company they represented, and held normal jobs there besides athletics. But it was also fairly amateur due to its loose scheduling and vague pay structure. The only thing certain is that it did attract a good amount of the talent in the Midwestern United States at the time.

There were nine teams in the first season, and 11 in the second. They had playoffs after a short season, but the teams were also free to play other pro teams around the country. In the inaugural 1935-36 season, the play-offs consisted of a single-game elimination of the top two teams in each division. The teams played a very unbalanced schedule with the franchises playing anywhere from 5 to 18 league games.

The second MBC season saw in increase in teams but still unbalanced schedules that saw teams play anywhere from 7 to 18 league games.

The MBC re-branded itself after the 1936-37 season and became the National Basketball League (which I have already covered on this blog.) The NBL became a top professional league, and later some of the teams would become part of the NBA.

The Akron Goodyear Wingfoots, who joined the MBC in the second season, are still functional today as an AAU elite team. Founded in 1918, they are the oldest professional basketball team still in existence.

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