The American Basketball League completed last season’s shakeout of smaller cities when the Troy franchise was transferred to Brooklyn to join Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the five-team league. For the first time in many years, attendance was high enough to generate some profits. Eddie Gottleib’s Sphas regularly drew capacity crowds to the Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia, while in Brooklyn, the Jewels and the Celtics drew full-houses almost every Saturday night. Baltimore and Washington, however, remained money losers.
Philadelphia was the convincing winner of the first-half of the season, but slumped out of contention during the second season. In contrast, the Brooklyn Celtics who had staggered through the first half, came alive to win second-half honors. The Celtics engineered the turn around by selling aging veteran Pete Berensen to Washington and expanding the playing time of youngsters Chick Reiser and Bernie Fliegel.
In the best-of-five game championship series, the home team won each of the first three games to give Philadelphia a 2-1 edge before they faced off against the Celtics in Brooklyn for game four. Brooklyn overpowered the Philadelphia club during the first two periods to take a 27-16 lead into the final stanza. The Sphas, however, reeled off fourteen straight points before the Celtics could score their single third-period basket. The St. Nicholas Arena crowd filed out in bitter silence, stunned by the Sphas remarkable feat. Philadelphia’s 30-29 victory provided the Sphas with their fifth ABL championship in eight seasons.
NBL champion Oshkosh entered the Chicago World Pro Tournament as the favorite and worked its way to the finals as expected. Another NBL team, the Detroit Eagles, also earned a spot in the finals with successive one-point victories over the tournament’s first two champions, the New York Rens and the Harlem Globetrotters. The Eagles then upset favored Oshkosh 39-37 to take the championship.