By Jonah Sharf
On August 3, 1949, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). The BAA formed in 1946, nine years after the NBL, to challenge the monopoly that the NBL had created in professional basketball. After three years, the leagues decided to merge, and Maurice Podoloff, the leader of the BAA, was chosen to lead the new NBA. Podoloff served as the first NBA commissioner from 1949 until 1963, and the NBA’s MVP award was named after him.