In 1931 Frank Kautsky, an Indianapolis grocer, formed a professional basketball team and named it the Indianapolis Kautskys. After playing in the Midwest Basketball Conference (1932–33) and the National Basketball League (1935–37), the Kautskys became one of the original members of the newly-formed National Basketball League (NBL) in 1937.
1946-47 was the best season for the franchise; led by Arnie Risen, they set the franchise mark for most wins (27) and won the World Professional Basketball Tournament.
With the Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, and Fort Wayne Pistons, the team moved to the Basketball Association of America (BAA) for the 1948–49 season. At that time the team's name was changed to the Indianapolis Jets because the BAA prevented its teams from having commercial sponsors, similar to how the Fort Wayne Pistons removed the Zollner sponsor from their original name.
Following the 1948-49 season, the Jets folded. This coincided with the BAA and the NBL merging to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). For the 1949-50 season, a new Indianapolis franchise, the Indianapolis Olympians, was created.