Get ready to be amazed by the history of the New York Rens basketball team! This team was founded way back in 1923 by Robert “Bob” Douglas, and they quickly made a reputation for themselves as one of the best basketball teams in the country.
The Rens were known for their high-scoring, fast-paced style of play, and they were one of the first teams to fully embrace the fast break. They were also pioneers in other areas, becoming the first professional basketball team to tour the country and play games in multiple cities.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the Rens dominated the competition, winning numerous championships and establishing themselves as a basketball powerhouse.
For a decade, the World Professional Basketball Tournament was the place to be for the best teams in the world. From 1939 to 1948, this annual invitational tournament, sponsored by the Chicago Herald American, brought together the top teams from the National Basketball League and beyond, including the Rens and Harlem Globetrotters.
Held in Chicago and played at venues like the Chicago Coliseum, International Amphitheater, and Chicago Stadium, the WPBT was a showcase for the most skilled basketball players of the time. And while the NBL champion often took home the trophy, the New York Rens made history by winning the first WPBT in 1939.
Despite their success on the court, the Rens faced numerous challenges off the court due to the racial segregation that was prevalent at the time. Despite this, they persevered and continued to make a name for themselves, eventually becoming one of the most respected and successful teams in the history of professional basketball.
In fact, it is truly amazing to consider that the New York Rens once had an 88-game winning streak in a single season, the longest winning streak in professional basketball history. Such a feat required a tremendous amount of skill and determination on the part of the team.
Now, the first Black-owned, all-Black, fully professional basketball team in history is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023 with the launch of the “RENS100” centennial celebration.
The Black Fives Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to researching and preserving the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball, has partnered with global sports company PUMA, the NCAA’s BIG EAST Conference, and leading sports retailer Lids to celebrate this historic milestone.
To mark the occasion, the Black Fives Foundation has unveiled the official RENS100 centennial emblem and announced a series of initiatives that will be held throughout the year with families, athletes, partners, ambassadors, and community organizations.
These initiatives will raise awareness about the pioneering players, teams, and contributors of the New York Rens and the significance of their achievements.
In honor of the RENS100 celebration, PUMA will release a line of footwear available in retail stores and on their website, and Lids will offer Physical Culture Supply Co. private label caps exclusively at their stores and on their website.
If you’re a basketball fan or just love a good underdog story, you’ll definitely want to check out the amazing history of the New York Rens.
They may not be a household names today, but their impact on the sport of basketball is undeniable.