In the BAA's inaugural year, the Chicago Stags were placed in the Western Division, and after 60 games were tied with the St. Louis Bombers at 38–22 each. A tiebreaker game between the two teams on March 31, 1947, resulted in the Stags defeating the Bombers in overtime, 73–66, to clinch the division and a first round bye. Under the initial playoff format, the two division champions faced each other in the Semifinals. The Stags defeated the Washington Capitols, the only team to finish with a better record than the Stags, 4–2, and went on to lose to the Philadelphia Warriors in the BAA Finals, 4–1.
In the 1947–48 season season, the Stags finished second in their division with a 28–20 record, one game behind the St. Louis Bombers, and second overall in the league. In the playoffs, they won a tiebreaker game against the Washington Capitols, advancing to play the Boston Celtics in the First Round. The Stags won, moving into the Semifinals for the second consecutive year. However, they were defeated by the eventual champions, the Baltimore Bullets.
In 1948–49, the Stags finished third, 38–22, seven games behind division-winning Rochester Royals. The playoffs were expanded from six to eight teams, and the Stags played the Minneapolis Lakers in the Division Semifinals where they lost 2–0.
In their final season of 1949–50, the Stags finished tied for third with the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons with a 40–28 record, and again lost to the Lakers in the Division Semifinals. It marked the end of the NBA in Chicago until the Chicago Packers were joined in 1961.
On April 25, 1950, Bob Cousy was drafted by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks but did not sign with the team. Cousy wanted $10,000 and Blackhawks owner Ben Kerner countered with $6,000 in negotiations. Cousy was then sold to the Stags in a trade. When the Stags folded, a dispersal draft was held on October 5, 1950 to divide their players throughout the league. Cousy was drafted by the Boston Celtics.
The Stags were one of seven teams that quickly left the NBA: the Anderson Packers, Sheboygan Red Skins and Waterloo Hawks jumped to the NPBL, while the Chicago Stags, Denver Nuggets and St. Louis Bombers folded. The league went from 17 teams to 11 before the 1950–51 season started, and midway through the season, the Washington Capitols folded as well, bringing the number of teams in the league down to 10.
The NBA would return to Chicago twice, first with the Packers/Zephyrs (now the Washington Wizards) from 1961 to 1963 and since 1966 with the Bulls.