How is it possible that Carl McNulty, a former NBA player, has never been paid?

NBA players of the past might not earn as much as those of today, but when you play or go to the bench, you should be paid something, right? For Carl McNulty, that was not the case. And oddly enough, he didn’t mind.

In the 1954-1955 season, the NBA was a rather different league. To understand the context, there were only 9 NBA teams, but they ended with 8 after the Washington Bullets retired mid-season with a 3-14 record. This was the season in which the shot clock was introduced. This is the season when the shot clock is introduced, NBC finally gets the rights to broadcast a few more games, the league finally makes a profit.

Why was Carl McNulty never paid?

The answer to this question comes down to two reasons: alcohol and poker. As a 6-foot-3 guard who grew up on a farm in Indiana, basketball was the last thing on his mind. The only thing he wanted to do was work on his parents’ farm, but because he was the 1950s version of Dennis Rodman, he wanted to see how far basketball could take him. Eventually McNulty got a scholarship to play at Purdue.

He was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the third round of the 1952 draft, but was immediately traded to the Milwaukee Hawks. After his debut with Milwaukee, on the return trip, McNulty hated his teammates partying and gambling after games. Having never signed a contract to play with the Hawks, he chose never to return.

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