Oshkosh All-Stars

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Oshkosh All-Stars
HistoryOshkosh All-Stars 1937-1949
ArenaSouth Park School Gymnasium (2,000)
LocationOshkosh, Wisconsin
Championships2 National Basketball League Championships (1941,1942)
1 World Professional Basketball Tournament

The Oshkosh All-Stars were a professional basketball team based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Founded in 1929 by Lonnie Darling, the team was a member of the National Basketball League, a forerunner to the NBA, from 1937 until 1949.


The team began as a barnstorming team, playing loosely structured games against other Wisconsin-based teams. It did not belong to a league.

Sports editor of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Arthur Heywood, thought Oshkosh should have a professional basketball team to give people something to talk about over the winter months. Heywood took the idea to Lonnie Darling, a seed distributor and salesman for the G. H. Hunkel Co. Although Darling had never played a game of basketball in his life, he agreed and recruited 30 talented local players to try out.[1]

The team had no set roster, and players could switch allegiances from night to night. Players could make from $15 to $25 per game and played almost every day of the week. The All-Stars played their games at the Recreation Gym to crowds of 800 to 1,200 people.[1]

The rules of the game made it impossible for high scoring. After every basket, the ball went back to mid-court for a center jump, and the clock continued non-stop. Fans wanted to see action, so the officials let players scramble and hit each other without much interference. Fan involvement was direct; when a questionable call was made or an opposing player made a nasty move, fans would storm onto the court in an angry mob. In this time, there were designated shooters so that the same player would shoot for every free throw.[1]

National Basketball League[edit]

The all-white Oshkosh All-Stars played the all-black New York Renaissance Big Five (Rens) for the first time in February 1936 in a two-game series. The series drew such a large crowd that team manager Darling decided to play the Rens again in 1937 in a five-game series. The games were held in Oshkosh, Racine, Green Bay, Ripon, and Madison, Wisconsin. Darling declared that the winner of the series would be considered the world's champions of basketball.

The All-Stars lost the series, three games to two, but Robert Douglas, the Ren's owner, agreed to playing an additional two-game series that would extend the "World series" to seven games. If the All-Stars won those two games, they would be considered the world's basketball champions, winning four games to three. The All-Stars defeated the Rens in both games. The following season the NBL added Oshkosh as a founding member.[2]

The team was a part of the NBL for 12 years, starting in 1937 and ending in 1949. During this time, the All-Stars made it to the playoffs 11 of the 12 years, appeared in the NBL championship five consecutive years (1938 to 1942), and won the NBL Championship twice, in 1941 and 1942.[3] The All-Stars also won the 1942 World Professional Basketball Tournament over the Detroit Eagles in Chicago.[4] By the late 1940s, after a few unsuccessful seasons, the All-Stars were still a winning team, and Oshkosh was widely known as a "basketball city".[5]

Robert McDermott holds the team record for career number of points at 3583 points, followed by Leroy Edwards with 3221 career points, and Gene Englund with 2600 points. McDermott was awarded Most Valuable Player four consecutive seasons (1942-1945) and Edwards was awarded MVP for three consecutive seasons (1937-1939)

Concluding the All-Stars[edit]

In 1949, the National Basketball League merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA), forming the National Basketball Association (NBA). The owner died and the team was dissolved.[citation needed]

12-Season record[edit]

Season W L W/L% Finish Playoffs
1948-49* 37 27 .587 1 Lost NBL championship
1947-48* 29 31 .483 3 Lost Western division opening round
1946-47* 28 16 .636 1 Lost Eastern division semifinals
1944-46* 19 15 .559 2 Lost Western division semifinals
1944-45 12 18 .400 3
1943-44* 7 15 .318 3 Lost NBL semifinals
1942-43* 11 12 .478 3 Lost NBL semifinals
1941-42* 20 4 .833 1 Won NBL championship
1940-41* 18 6 .750 1 Won NBL championship
1939-40* 15 13 .536 1 Lost NBL championship
1938-39* 17 11 .607 1 Lost NBL championship
1937-38* 12 2 .857 1 Lost NBL championship

Asterisk (*) indicates a playoff appearance[6]


First season: 1929-1930 Oshkosh All-Stars
Final season: 1948-1949 Oshkosh All-Stars


  1. ^ a b c Strasser, Myles. "The Oshkosh Allstars". The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, January 1979.[page needed]
  2. ^ "Early Racial Inclusion Puts Wisconsin On Pro Basketball Map | The Black Fives Foundation". www.blackfives.org. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  3. ^ Jan Hubbard, et al. The Official NBA Encyclopedia. New York: Doubleday, 2000. pp. 44-45.
  4. ^ Wilfrid Smith. "Oshkosh beats Detroit, 43-41, for pro title". Chicago Daily Tribune, March 12, 1942. p. 21.
  5. ^ "1929-30 Oshkosh All-Stars". oshkosh.pastperfect-online.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  6. ^ "Oshkosh All-Stars | Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.

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