PSL Alums as pre-NBA Professionals

Professional basketball existed long before the summer of 1949 when the Basketball Association of American (BAA) absorbed teams and players from the National Basketball League (NBL), and renamed itself the National Basketball Association (NBA).  In fact, pro leagues existed as early as 1898.

As early as 1925-26 (our research is ongoing) Detroit Public School alumni appeared in pro basketball leagues and they are listed below.

It is also interesting to note that before the Pistons moved to Detroit from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, the Motor City had already been represented in five different professional leagues by 12 teams.  This is not to mention the very strong Detroit independent pro teams such as the all-white Mansfield, Harry Suffrins, Triple A (AAA), Cincy Sach’s All-Stars, and Pulaski Post and Eagles, which also played in pro leagues, and the all-black Joe Louis Brown Bombers, Charlie Justice All-American Whiz Kids, and Jesse Owens Olympians, to name some.  In addition to earning money by barnstorming, independent teams of the era, including the Harlem Globetrotters and New York Rens, competed for cash prizes against each other and teams from the pro leagues in various tournaments around the country.

The Detroit Pulaski Post Five (1925-26), Detroit Lions (1926-27), and Detroit Cardinals (1927-28) played in the third rendition of the American Basketball League (ABL).

The Detroit Northern States Life Insurance (1929-30) and Detroit Tool Shops (1929-30), played in the third rendition of the NBL. The Detroit/Jackson Olympics (1929-30) played in the National Professional Basketball League. Some years later, the Detroit Eagles (1939-40 through 1940-41), Detroit Gems (1946-47), and Detroit Vagabond Kings (1948-49) played in the fifth rendition of the NBL.  Our Detroit Eagles were the World Champions in 1941.

The Detroit Falcons (1946-47) represented Detroit in the first year of the NBA, when it was still officially called the BAA.

And stuck in the middle of the aforementioned seasons and leagues are the Detroit Hed-Aids (1935-36) and Detroit Altes Lager (1936-37) teams which represented Detroit in the Midwest Basketball Conference.

Still other Detroiters appeared in the Professional Basketball League of America (1947-48) even though Detroit did not have a team in the league.

To learn much more about these and other leagues visit the Association for Professional Basketball Research.

National Basketball League (NBL)
Ed Parry
, Eastern
Wilbur King, Pershing
Bobby Roth, Central
Frank Mekules, Western
Frank Sabo, Southwestern
Bill Krall, Redford
Tony Kaseta, Northern
Howard McCarty, Northwestern
Art “Red” Carty, Northwestern
Adam “Flip” Filipczak, Northeastern
Bill Lane, Eastern

American Basketball League (ABL)
Bill Henderson, Northwestern
Tommy Clark(e), Cass Tech
Bruno Smokiewicz, Northwestern
Joe Dermody, Northwestern
“Penny” Bejin, Western
Walter “Tillie” Voss, U of D High
Sidney “Sid” Sankovic, Nordstrum (renamed Southwestern)

National Professional Basketball League (NPBL)
Sidney “Sid” Sankovic, Nordstrum (reamed Southwestern)

Midwest Basketball Conference (MBC)
Carl Gussin
, Central
Harry Solomon, Northern
Maybury Schwiezer, Southeastern
Al Shaw, Southeastern
Frank Connolly, Southeastern
Frank Worzniak, Hamtramck (in the league then) (Played baseball as Frank Ware)
Bill Crouch, Highland Park (in the league then)
Bobby Roth, Northwestern
Carl “Red” Apple, Western
Sam Askowitz, Northern
Perry “Junior” “Junie” Byard, Jr., Northern

Professional Basketball League of America (PBLA)
Bill Krall, Redford
Tony Kaseta, Northern
Ed Parry, Eastern

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