The ‘Harlem Rens’ became the first all-black professional basketball on February 13, 1923, at a time when African Americans and Whites could not play basketball together.
On #ThisThursday, the first all black professional American owned basketball team, The New York Renaissance aka Big R Five aka Harlem Rens, was organized by Robert Douglas in Harlem in 1923.#BlackHistory2020 #BlackHistoryMonth2020 #BHM #africanamericanhistory #blackhistoryfacts pic.twitter.com/wkscPHvx8i
— GCSA (@GCSA14) February 13, 2020
The team, also known as the ‘New York Rens’ and the ‘Renaissance Big Five,’ was established when their manager and owner Robert Douglas struck an agreement with a Harlem real estate developer to play on the ballroom floor of the New Renaissance Ballroom and Casino.
The Rens dominated throughout the 1920’s and 30’s including the 1932-33 season, when they won 88 consecutive games! In 1949, the Rens and the National Basketball League merged with the Basketball Association of America to form the National Basketball Association. (Source: Black Enterprise)