Looking Back at When Iowa Had NBA Team
It may come as a surprise that a 68,000 person city in Iowa once hosted a NBA team, and is considered a founding member of the league.
Waterloo, Iowa is the birth place to famous athletes such as Olympic wrestler Dan Gable, professional wrestler Thunderbolt Patterson, and Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles. It was also the birthplace to the lone professional sports team (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB) in Iowa history.
We need to take a look back in history, but the Waterloo Hawks were founded in 1948 as members of the National Basketball League (NBL). That league was purchased by the Basketball Association of America, which then formed what is known today as the National Basketball Association (NBA). Waterloo would participate in the very first NBA season.
The Hawks would not fair well in their lone season in the NBA. Waterloo would finish with a 19-43 record. They finished fifth in the Western Division and only better than the Denver Nuggets (11-51).
They played games that year against the likes of the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and the Minneapolis Lakers. The Lakers would go on to win the NBA Championship that season defeating Syracuse (who would go on to become the Philadelphia 76ers) 4-2.
Waterloo would only play the one season in the NBA. Following the 1949-1950 season, the team opted to participate in the National Professional Basketball League (NPBL). It ended up being the only season for the NPBL and the last season for the Waterloo Hawks in franchise history.
But there was still that one time that Waterloo and the State of Iowa hosted a NBA team. Basketball Reference has the entire roster, schedule, and results from the 1949-1950 season featuring Waterloo.