The Professional Basketball League of America (1947–1948) was a basketball league in the United States that was started in 1947 in response to the tremendous upsurge in interest in basketball in the era immediately following World War II. The organization was underfunded compared to its competitors—the Basketball Association of America, the National Basketball League, and even the American Basketball League; there was simply not room in the marketplace for four major professional basketball leagues. The PBLA folded without completing its only season.
Miffed because he had been rebuffed in his attempt to become NBL president, Chicago industrialist Maurice White pulled his champion Gears out of the NBL to form the basis of his own league.
The new Professional Basketball League of America consisted of sixteen teams scattered through the South and Midwest, all owned and operated by White. His representative in Grand Rapids was a young attorney by the name of Gerald Ford, who 27 years later would become president of the United States. White lured dozens of major league players from both leagues to his new venture with lucrative two-year contracts. His grand scheme collapsed, however, just three weeks into the season when it became apparent that fans had little interest in any of the teams in the league other than the powerful Chicago Gears with star attraction George Mikan. Four surviving teams (Kansas City, Oklahoma City, St. Joseph, and Springfield) would attempt to continue by creating a subset of the league called the All America Basketball Conference. The attempt lasted all but a few games.