Chicago Stags

Chicago Stags
Conference Western (1946–49)
Central (1949–50)
Division Western Division
Founded 1946
History 1946–50
Arena Chicago Stadium
Location Chicago, Illinois
Team colors Red, blue, white
Head coach Harold Olsen (1946–1948)
Philip Brownstein (1948–1950)
Championships 0
Conference titles 1

The Chicago Stags were a National Basketball Association team based in Chicago.

Franchise history

The Chicago Stags was founded in June 6, 1946 and folded in September 25, 1950. During their short history, they were able to acquire the draft rights to a young Bob Cousy in a trade with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (although he never played a game for them). When the Stags folded, a dispersal draft was held to divide their players throughout the league. Cousy was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Despite their short existence in the BAA and NBA, the Stags made their way to the BAA finals in 1947, where they lost to the Philadelphia Warriors.

The beginning of a new league

In the BAA's inaugural year, there were 11 teams split into two divisions. The Chicago Stags were placed in the Western Division, and won the division by one game, finishing 39–22 over the St. Louis Bombers. They finished second in the regular season standings, behind only the 49–11 Washington Capitols. In the playoffs, they received a first-round bye, only to play the Capitols in the semi-finals. Chicago won the series 4–2, and proceeded to the finals, where they played the Philadelphia Warriors, who won 4–1.

1947–1948 season

The next season, the Stags finished second in their four-team division with a mark of 28–20, one game behind the St. Louis Bombers, and second overall in the league (the total number of teams was down from 11 to 8). In the playoffs, they won a tiebreaking game against the Washington Capitols), advancing to play the Boston Celtics in the quarter-finals. The Stags won, moving into the semi-finals for the second consecutive year. However, they were then defeated by the eventual champions, the Baltimore Bullets.


The next year, each division was instantly made more competitive with more teams, including the Minneapolis Lakers and the New York Knickerbockers. The Stags finished 3rd, 38–22, seven games behind division-winning Rochester Royals. The playoffs were expanded from 6 to 8 teams, and the Stags played the Lakers. They lost again to the eventual champions, the Lakers, 2–0.

The final season

In the Stags final season, the league consistently continued its growth, forming a third division, and a total of 17 teams. The Stags finished tied for third with the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (and behind the Lakers and Royals), 11 games back, with a 40–28 record, and again lost to the Lakers in the opening round. It marked the end of the NBA in Chicago until the Chicago Packers were enfranchised in 1961.

Players of note

Season-by-season records

NBA Champions Conference Champions Division Champions Playoff Berth
Season League Conference Finish Division Finish Wins Losses Win% GB Playoffs Awards
1946–47 BAA Western 1st 39 22 .639 Won BAA Semifinals (Capitols) 4–2
Lost BAA Finals (Warriors) 1–4
1947–48 BAA Western 3rd 28 20 .583 1 Won Division Tiebreaker (Capitols)
Won First Round (Boston) 2–1
Lost BAA Semifinals (Bullets) 0–2
1948–49 BAA Western 3rd 38 22 .633 7 Lost Division Semifinals (Lakers) 0–2
1949–50 NBA Central 4th 40 28 .588 11 Lost Division Tiebreaker (Pistons)
Lost Division Semifinals (Lakers) 0–2
Regular Season record 145 92 .612 1946–1950
Playoff record 8 14 .381 Postseason Series Record: 3–5


The Chicago Bulls wore replicas of the 1946 Stags uniforms during the 2005–06 NBA season as part of the NBA's "Hardwood Classics" program (they wore them on December 5, 2005, February 22, 2006 and April 16, 2006).


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