In the fall of 1906, Charles Powers, the sports editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, spearheaded the formation of the Central Basketball League, the most ambitious professional basketball organization to date. The new league began play with five western Pennsylvania teams located in and around Pittsburgh and one team in the eastern Ohio community of East Liverpool.
A playoff between the high-scoring first-half champion East Liverpool and the accomplished defenses of second-half champion South Side never materialized because of a dispute over referees and playoff shares. Despite this disappointment, the Central League’s initial campaign was a tremendous success financially. Attendance figures were the highest yet to be seen in the pro game. Crowds of 1500-2000 were common occurrences
Central League champion East Liverpool rounded off its 1907-08 season by crushing Philadelphia League champion Germantown in a series of games in Philadelphia, further confirming the vast disparity between the two leagues.
With growing competion from the EBL and NYSL, the Central Basketball League collapsed just a week before the 1912-13 season was scheduled to get underway. The league could never overcome its lack of strong local identity. The need to import high-salaried players forced the league to play an elongated schedule that never was fully supported.