SOMEONE GETS SHOT -- History of the NBA Finals Part 3

1946-1952

Previously...on History of the NBA Finals...

There was a pro basketball league called the NBL that was around since 1935.

It was the first major basketball league and consisted of a bunch of teams owned by car moguls.

They were small, primarily from the Midwest, and there were like forty of them.

Only three WOULD NOT FOLD WHEN THE BIG CITY MACHINE CAME ALONG IN 1946.

And those three would go three more years before joining the machine -- the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, the Detroit Games, and the Rochester Royals.

Again...only three of our little NBL teams would survive the BAA's crap.

You want to see a battle fought in this war? How's that?

Shit.

Call off the nukes, Schwartzkopf. Man.

3 teams out of 40.

Stay tuned.

For these three units plus expansion Minneapolis would, until their owners caved and joined the BAA, have to watch the first two NBA Finals happen...concerning only the BAA.

That's right.

The staunch, passionate fan bases of Fort Wayne, Rochester and Detroit would literally dwindle simply because it was now a waste of time to see who was going to win the league title!

Imagine if the Yankees woke up tomorrow and discovered that they were now playing for the minor leagues while the Earth Strikers and Mars Volcanos comprised the REAL World Series.

Big Cities 1, Small Cities 0.

Alright.

That would be one thing if Earth and Mars clubs were actually better.

But they WEREN'T.

The BAA sucked SHIT.

The Harlem Globetrotters were better, and they're not fucking supposed to be.

This is why Michigan State plays them during the pre-season.

This big ball of juice I'm talking about -- the tension between big and small city -- is derived here. Not because the NBL was juiced, but because the new guys were proving to be nothing but a big publicity stunt.

All this grief we're going through due to Bonnie Prince Charlie?

I've got to move and say goodbye because THESE motherfuckers exist?

The NFC and AFC had alot of beefs in the Superbowl hubs. The NFC never ever EVER...yanked the AFC out of their own cities to play in bigger ones.

For all these small town fans who had gotten to love the Pistons and Royals, it was like saying goodbye to college players before they go pro....REVERSED!!!!

Duke University so to speak was saying goodbye to pro players...on their way to college!

This was psychologically...mind-fucking!

The damned thing was that due to this big city/little city dynamic, there would become a hierarchy as far as business platforms.

Detroit was both a stepping stone to a destination...as well as a destination!

If you were successful in booming late 40s Detroit, you went to squeaky clean Minneapolis next.

If you were in Fort Wayne, your next stop was Detroit.

Rochester would soon go to Kansas City in step one of its' path to sunny California.

Alright...so the BAA, shitty as it is, will have in fact two magnificent players.

Max Zeslofsky and Joe Fulks.

White, sure.

Because there are NO BLACK PLAYERS IN THESE STATES I MEAN TEAMS UNTIL 1950 due to...oh you'll see...

But these two white guys take the form of us in the backyard...but are a million times more innovative.

Why?

Because they played as good as us...WITHOUT THE COOL NBA VIDEOS TO COPY JORDAN AND ISIAH'S MOVES!!!!!!

They had nobody's moves but what their own cerebellums processed as logical.

They are the reason why you CAN LEARN TO PLAY BASKETBALL BY YOURSELF AND ON YOUR OWN.

They played like fuckin' black dudes.

Four corners ball was NOT A TREND YET even though you'd imagine it would be like the skeleton of the whole game.

It WASN'T.

Basketball, before the 50s, is fucking Rollerball (1975).

And James Caan was mister Zesflosky.

Is Caan Jewish? Cuz Zeflowsky is.

There's no way in hell we're gonna get through this if I have to keep spelling Zeflosky.

So he's Mr. Z.

Mr. Z was 6'2'' and the first Isiah.

Think of driving point guards.

The first Maurice Cheeks.

The first Nate Archibald.

The first Muggsy Bogues.

The first Spud Webb.

Not the first Bob Cousy.

Cousy was a pioneer all in himself.

Cousy would be the first John Stockton.

The first Mark Price.

The first Jason Kidd.

But back to Max Z.

So the BAA if you notice actually is in fact...a place that welcome ethnicity.

No blacks yet, but there are Jews?

That's almost more fucking liberal in 1950 then having blacks!

Zesflowsky would lead the Chicago Stags to an upset of a team in Washington that becomes a great story, for they were a bunch of ex-Naval officers, had put up the league's best record at that point (49-11), and were coached by someone who...with his hiring and Zesfwkskieky's prominence...recognized the tremendous opportunities in breaking barriers...

A 28-year old rookie coach named Red Auerbach.

Auerbach had been a high school coach until World War II.

It was around 1944, when a Washington millionaire hears a story about a man who actually made the Navy guys look FORWARD TO THEIR WORK OUT REGIMENTS.

How?

The guy organizes a tournament between them in Norfolk, Virginia.

By the time they're done doing their windsprints, they don't even fucking realize they've been exercising.

The millionaire goes to meet him, this twentysomething high school basketball coach Red Auerbach who's cool as fuck.

Listen I was thinking about starting a team in Washington. Wanna be the coach?

And so that's how it all begins for the true grandfather of what would become the greatest and proudest league in the history of sports.

Now Auerbach would fight a bit with the guy.

And he would go to another team and fight with that guy to. We'll get to that, because it will be on that second team that Auerbach will draft the FIRST EVER BLACK PLAYER IN NBA HISTORY.

So Chicago beats them though in 1946.

Who would play the Stags?

The Philadelphia Warriors.

The Warriors have the other big star of the BAA at the time -- Joe Fulks.

Fulks is the inventor of the "jump shot".

YEAH!!!!

Miyagi say...quick release when you leap in the air...leads to happiness in pants.

Fulks was the first Vinnie Johnson.

The first Scottie Pippen.

The first Sean Elliott.

The first Robert Horry.

Oh my goodness are we in fact talking about the three spot? The small forward?

The small forward used to be nothing.

They were the Jan Brady of the Basketball Bunch.

The center, that's Marcia. Hot stuff.

The point guard, non-existent. In the way. An annoyance. Cindy.

Well if you were a woman today, who would you blow out of all the starting five of a basketball team first if they all could score?

The SMALL FORWARD!!!

This is Joe Fulks' doing.

Creative as HELL.

From Kentucky.

6'5''.

The very first small forward who scored all the time.

Between Zesflowsky and Fulks alone...the NBA would have thousands of copy cats.

They are the Tom Landry and Bill Walsh of the NBA.

And in this, the first ever NBA Finals, the 1946 BAA Finals as it was called, Fulks would have the series of his life.

The Philadelphia Warriors beat the Chicago Stags 4-1.

It should have been a sweep.

But in 1976, Joe Fulks would be sleeping with this widow.

Living down the way from the widow was her son.

The son loved his dead father, and didn't care for his mom sleeping with a ball player.

They have it out one night while they're drinking, Fulks and the 20 year old kid.

Fulks and him have an argument.

The kid pulls out a gun.

Now what would you do to diffuse this situation? Probably take the gun right?

Well that's what Fulks does.

And due to the whole idea of a new man coming around and telling you what the fuck to do the whole point of why we all hate step-fathers, Joe trying to be the smarter guy...ESCELATES THE ARGUMENT.

And so he goes to sleep aside his girlfriend.

He wakes up some time later to see that the kid now has a shotgun in his face.

He says get the fuck away from my mom.

Fulks says no.

The kid shoots him.

He swears he didn't mean to, but you know damn well that Fulks could have used some tact.

Fulks is dealing with a kid who feels like he's getting walked on, so he...expects the kid to put the gun down and say "you're right, I'm the crazy one"?

-------------------

So the Baltimore Bullets would come from the ACTUAL STRAIGHT-UP minor leagues the next year.

They would surprise Fulks and the Warriors in the league's second NBA Finals.

The 1948 BAA Finals.

So we got Philadelphia in 47 and Baltimore in 48.

Then they brought in the NBL teams.

And just as both physics and these hubs would direct to...the NBL teams would immediate dominate their bigger pretenders.

George Mikan wins it for Minneapolis in 49 and 50.

During the 49 Finals, he scores 37 points with a BROKEN WRIST.

It begins yet another trend in the NBA...playing severely hurt in big time situations.

To do better then the last guy with a more severe injury in the NBA Finals...becomes the rushing record in the NFL's Superbowl.

At the start of the next hub, you will see how, just like the NFC would begin to institute rules to hold down its' AFC superiors...so would the former BAA, the big city teams, begin their first steps in trying to hold down the small town's George Godzilla Mikan...

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