The Commonwealth Big Five, an all-black basketball team, debuted on this date in 1922, defeating the all-white Monarch Elks Five, 25-13.

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It’s a significant milestone because theirs was the first fully professional African American basketball team, meaning that each player received a full-year guaranteed contract.

The “Commons” were formed by Irish-American brothers Ed and Jess McMahon, boxing promoters from the Bronx who owned the Commonwealth Sporting Club and Casino in Harlem, where the team played its home games.

The McMahon’s club was located on 135th Street at Madison Avenue.

The Commonwealth Big Five won the Colored Basketball World’s Championship for 1923-24.

They served as the model for Robert “Bob” Douglas, who formed the New York Renaissance Big Five (aka “Rens”) in 1923.

The Rens were the first black-owned fully professional African American basketball team.