1946 Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (vs. Rochester Royals) NBL Basketball Broadside

Sold For: $420

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1944

Item Year: 1944

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Rare broadside heralding a National Basketball League game between the Fort Wayne Zollners ("World's Professional Champions") and the Rochester Royals at the Maple Leaf Gardens on January 16th. The broadside also promotes a second game at the venue between the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario. Although no year is mentioned, the fact that it lists the Zollners as defending champions and the Rochester Royals as the opponents conclusively dates it to 1946. (Forty Wayne won the NBL Championship in both the 1943-1944 and 1944-1945 seasons, but the Rochester Royals did not join the league until the 1945-1946 season.) The Royals, led by future Hall of Famers Al Cervi, Bob Davies, and Red Holzman, defeated the Zollners in the 1946 NBL playoffs and won the league title by defeating the Sheboygan Redskins in the Finals. Both the Zollners (the team's name was officially the Zollner Pistons) and the Royals would later join the Basketball Association of America (BAA), before becoming founding members of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949. Today, the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons' franchise name is the Detroit Pistons, while the Royals' franchise name is the Sacremento Kings. Early NBL memorabilia is exceedingly rare. The fact that this broadside features the two top teams in the league at the time makes it especially desirable. The broadside (14 x 21.75 inches), which is printed on thick cardboard stock, displays heavy staining as well as a number of moderate edge and corner chips. In Good condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).


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