The Redskins played in three professional leagues and as an independent team. The leagues were, in order, the National Basketball League (NBL); the National Basketball Association (charter member), and the National Professional Basketball League (NPBL).
The team originated in 1933 from informal clubs which were sponsored by local businesses. They joined the NBL by 1938 as the Red Skins, owned by a syndicate. The Red Skins played in the NBL from 1938 to 1949, led the league in defense five times, appeared in five championship series and won the 1942–43 title, defeating the league-leading Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (today's Detroit Pistons) in the finals.
They were undone by the 1949 merger of the NBL and the NBA. The other league which merged with the NBA (the Basketball Association of America) had more money, played in larger cities, and generally fielded better teams.
The Red Skins were one of seven franchises which quickly left the NBA. The league contracted after the 1949–1950 season, losing six teams; the Anderson Packers, Sheboygan Red Skins and Waterloo Hawks jumped to the NPBL, and the Chicago Stags, Denver Nuggets and St. Louis Bombers folded. The NBA shrank from 17 teams to 11 before the 1950–1951 season began. The Washington Capitols folded midway through the season, reducing the number of teams in the league to ten.
The Red Skins did not fit well, left the league, and joined the short-lived NPBL. When that league folded, the team returned to its independent roots for one more year of play before it also disappeared.