Automobile-piston magnate Fred Zollner launched the club in a the National Basket ball League and christened it the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. The Pistons were not the only team named after auto parts in the NBL as they were joined by the Akron Firestone Non-Skids, Akron Goodyear Wingfoots, and Toledo Jim White Chevrolets. Playing against the start of America's involvement in World War II, and Pearl Harbor the Zollner Pistons had a solid inaugural season finishing in 2nd place with a 15-9 record. In the playoffs the Pistons would overcome an opening game loss to beat the Wingfoots in a 3-gameseries. However, in the NBL Finals the Zollner Pistons would lose a 3-game series after taking Game 1 against the Oshkosh All-Stars.