That’s right! The year was 1946; however, back then, it was called the BAA (Basketball Association of America). The New York Knickerbockers were scheduled to play Canada’s sole team, The Toronto Huskies. However, this game was to be played on a Saturday night. Ice hockey was already a national Saturday night obsession in Canada. So, there was no way to reschedule ice hockey games. The Huskies game had to be played a day earlier than scheduled.
How Did the First Game in NBA History Go?
This game came at a time when the game was still young, even in the United States. A dismal crowd of 7,000 was there to witness the first NBA game in a professional league.The first score came courtesy of a cheeky layup from Ossie Schechtman, a Knickerbocker player.
The rules were boring from a modern-day perspective. For one, Slam-dunks were not legal and shooting down the range didn’t earn 3 points. The Knickerbockers (now the Knicks) won the game 68-66. The Knicks went on to win two championships decades later. However, the Huskies have long since disbanded.
Attempts were made to incorporate Canadian franchises into the NBA with mixed results. The Buffalo Braves represented Toronto in the eastern conference from 1970 to 1978. But they moved to San Diego, eventually settling into what we now know as the L.A Clippers. It was only in 1995 that we had the next notable Canadian franchise in the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. The Raptors beat every other team in the 2019 season to become the first champions from Canada!
If their current performance is anything to go by, there’s hope they’ll bring the cup home in 2020 yet again. Let’s hope for all the best as we cheer Kyle Lowry and the rest of the squad from the stands and anywhere else.