Owned by Italian Immigrant Danny Biasone the Syracuse Nationals begin play in the National Basketball League, 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 fourth place. In the playoffs the Nats, would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in four 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.
With the NBA struggling financially and down to just eight teams Nationals Owner Danny Biasone and General Manager Leo Ferris suggested the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot thus speeding up a game that often ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball and playing keep away. Biasone calculated a 24 second shot clock would allow at least 30 shots per quarter speeding up the game and increasing scoring. The Shot Clock was an instant success as scoring was up 14 points per game league wide. In the first season of the shot clock the Nats would take first place in the East with a 43-29 record. After a first round bye the Nats would beat the Boston Celtics in four games to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight season. In the finals the Nats would get off to a fast start taking the first two games at home against the Fort Wayne Pistons. However, as the series moved to Fort Wayne the Pistons would spark back to life taking all three games to take a 3-2 series lead. Back in Syracuse for Game 6 on the Nats kept Championship hopes alive by beating the Pistons 109-104 to force a seventh game at home. Game 7 would be as tight as the series as George King sank a free throw to give the Nats a 92-91 lead in the final seconds. King would then steal inbound pass to clinch the NBA Championship for the Nationals.
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.
Syracuse – Philadelphia
1946 – Present / National Basketball Association
1946 – 1949 / National Basketball League
1963 – Present / Philadelphia 76ers
1946 – 1963 / Syracuse Nationals
Nationals – The Nationals refers to the nation as a whole, a way to think of everyone across the country. A very patriotic name.
NBA Championships 1
1983, 1967, 1955
1996 – Present / Wells Fargo Center
1967 – 1995 / The Spectrum
1963 – 1967 / Convention Hall & Philadelphia Arena
1951 – 1963 / Onondaga War Memorial
1946 – 1951 / State Fair Coliseum
2012 – Present / Joshua Harris
1996 – 2011 / Comcast Spectacor
1981 – 1996 / Harold Katz
1976 – 1981 / Fitz Eugene Dixon, Jr.
1963 – 1976 / Irv Kosloff
1946 – 1963 / Daniel Biasone
Who is the greatest Syracuse Nationals?
2 Moses Malone
3 Allen Iverson
4 Dolph Schayes
6 Julius Erving
10 Maurice Cheeks
13 Wilt Chamberlain
15 Hal Greer
24 Bobby Jones
32 Billy Cunningham
34 Charles Barkley
– Dave Zinkoff
Unknown – 2011 / Hip Hop
*Blue is this team’s history