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.
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)