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This Day in Black History: Feb. 13, 1923

The first Black pro-basketball team, The Renaissance, was formed on Feb. 13, 1923.

(Photo: WikiCommons)

Robert J. Douglas formed The Renaissance, the nation's first Black professional basketball team, on Feb. 13, 1923. The team was named after the famous Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem that served as its home court.

The Rens, as they were fondly called, initially played mostly in New York, and then eventually around the nation. One of their greatest rivals, and ultimately supporters, was a white team called the Original Celtics. Together they played the first integrated game in the South. In addition, the Celtics would not join the American Basketball League in 1925 in part because the Rens weren't allowed to.

In 1948, the team was renamed the Dayton Rens and replaced the Detroit Vagabond Kings in the National Basketball League. The team played its last game against the Denver Nuggets in 1949, with a lifetime record of 2,588-529.

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