Black History: Special Delivery!!
The New York Renaissance, an all black professional basketball team was established on February 23, 1923 by Robert “Bob” Douglas. They were also known as the Renaissance Big Five and as the Rens. They played their first game on November 3, 1923. Their interracial games against all white teams drew their largest crowds. During the 1932-33 the team won 88 consecutive games, a mark that has never been matched by a professional basketball team. In 1939, the team won the first professional basketball championship, when they beat the Oshkosh All-Stars, a white team, 34-25, in the World Professional Basketball Tournament.
The team’s record was 2588-539 over its history. In 1936, the Renaissance became the first top-level team to sign a four-year African American college star, David Djernett of Indiana Central. The team disbanded in 1949 after the 1948/49 season of the National Basketball League which was racially integrated. They played at that time as the Dayton Rens and were based in Dayton, OH. The NBL then merged with the all white Basketball Association of America to form the initially all white, National Basketball Association (NBA)