In 1922, basketball manager Robert “Bob” Douglas made a deal with Harlem real estate developer William Roach, the owner of the new Renaissance Ballroom and Casino. Douglas owned and managed an all-black basketball team called the Spartan Braves, which was a leading contender for the black national championship title.
But his basketball club had no home court. The Renaissance Ballroom, with its perfect location in the center of Harlem, its spacious floor, and its balcony seating that looked down from above, would be the ideal venue. Douglas asked Roach if the Spartans could play their home games at his ballroom in return for changing the name of the team to the “New York Renaissance” in order to promote the dance hall far and wide.
From 1923 to 1948, the Rens won 2,588 of 3,117 games – a staggering winning percentage of 83% sustained over a 25-year period! By comparison, the combined winning percentage of the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics, and the UCLA Bruins in their best dynasty years only reaches 76%, and their combined all-time winning percentage isn’t even 60%! To compare further, the Boston Celtics took 65 seasons to win that many games!