Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers
Basketball Team

Philadelphia 76ers

1963 Philadelphia

Philadelphia 76ers is a team that plays in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. It is considered the oldest NBA franchise and one of the founders of the current NBA, having been created in 1939 under the name Syracuse Nationals. The 76ers have three NBA championship rings to their credit, the first in 1955 under the founding name, the next two were achieved in 1967 and 1983. The team, which is currently located in the state of Pennsylvania, owes its change of city to Irv Kosloff, who bought the franchise and decided to take it to Philadelphia because it was a city with a larger market. The name of the team was submitted to popular vote, being 76ers the most voted due to the foundational past of the city of Philadelphia. It was there that the Declaration of Independence of the United States was signed in 1776.

NBA foundation and first ring

In 1949 the Nationals along with 7 teams of the National Basketball League (NBL) merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA) to form what we know today as the NBA. In those first steps of basketball in America, the Nationals were a very important team, achieving in 1955 their first ring, thanks to Dolph Schayes, their biggest star. They defeated Fort Wayne in the finals.


Dolph Schayes. Foto: NBA
Dolph Schayes. Photo: NBA


Arrival of Wilt Chamberlain and second ring

After the successes in the first steps of the NBA, the 60's, a period in which basketball began to become popular worldwide, the Sixers obtained the signature of Wilt Chamberlain from the Warriors. The player famous for scoring the most points in a single game (100 points) achieved a 68-13 record in 66/67. In a team that also had Billy Cunningham, Hal Green or Chet Walker. Philadelphia were the top contenders for the title and they did not disappoint. In the semifinals they eliminated Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, who had won 8 consecutive rings. In the grand final, they defeated the Warriors to win the second ring in the franchise's history.

Wilt Chamberlain tras su actuación de 100 puntos. Foto: NBA
Wilt Chamberlain after his 100-point performance. Photo: NBA


Dark years and return to success

The sale of Wilt Chamberlain due to league-related problems gave way to some difficult years for the Philadelphia franchise. In 71/72, they do not play playoffs for the first time in their history; a year later they achieve just 9 wins signing the worst record in NBA history in a full season. The difference of the change in the dynamics of the franchise is reflected in the fact that 6 years earlier they had established the best record of wins in a season. In 1976 they returned to the playoffs after 5 years of absence under McGinnis. That same year, the Sixers signed Julius Erving, taking advantage of the financial problems of the New York Nets. The arrival of Doctor J and the previous draft pick Darryl Dawkins helped the Sixers get back on the winning track. In 77/78, they would lose in the conference finals to the Bullets; luck would not be with the Sixers, as they lost in 79/80 and 81/82 to the Lakers in the finals.

Arrival of Moses Malone and third ring.

Moses Malone y Julius Erving. Foto:
Moses Malone and Julius Erving. Photo:

The difference maker the team needed to win the championship was Moses Malone. In 1982, with Malone's arrival from Houston, the Sixers made a qualitative leap to a roster that included Maurice Cheecks, Toney, Bobby Jones and Julius Erving himself. They achieved 65 wins in the regular season. Their playoff run was just as overwhelming as in the regular season. They swept the Knicks, conceded only one loss to Milwaukee and swept the Lakers in the finals, who had Abdul-Jabbar, Magic or Bob McAdoo. In this way and after a 12-1 playoff record (the best record in the playoffs), the Philadelphia Knicks won the third ring in their history. As expected, Malone was named MVP of the season.


Malone's trade and Barkley's arrival

The history of the Sixers can be understood thanks to specific players. Just as Malone's arrival meant a great leap in quality to fight for the ring, his departure also hurt Philadelphia's hopes. In June 1986, Malone was traded to the Cavaliers in one of the most regrettable trades in NBA history. In exchange for the former MVP, they received Hinson, Jeff Rulan and Cliff Robinson, players who spent their time in Philadelphia without much success. As a result, Charles Barkley became the face of the franchise. The controversial power forward was selected fifth overall in one of the best drafts in history, the 1984 draft. He shared the court with Olajuwon and Jordan. His attitude on the court and above all his personality, dazzled the Sixers fans, Barkley won the affection of the fans from day one.

Charles Barkley. Foto:
Charles Barkley. Photo:

After missing the postseason in the 87/88 season (the first time this had happened since 1975), they returned the following season under Barkley to be swept by the New York Knicks. The "fat man's" best season was 89/90, finishing second in the MVP voting. In 1992 he ended his time as a Sixer when he was traded to Phoenix. Although he did not win any titles, frustrated by Jordan's Bulls, Barkley has left a good memory in Philadelphia.


Allen Iverson, Larry Brown and NBA Finals

After several years away from the spotlight, the franchise underwent several changes in the front office. The new management decided to give the roster a facelift, starting with the mere aesthetics of the team. In 1996, Allen Iverson was drafted , winning the rookie of the year award in a season of change in which they posted a 22-60 record. To continue the process by which the team was undergoing, Larry Brown' s arrival on the bench was a paradigm shift. Brown had earned a reputation as a coach for making his teams play well (with few resources) by focusing on defense. This emphasis on defensive play clashed with Iverson's conception of basketball, and in the first few years there were some frictions that almost ended in a trade of the star point guard. In spite of this, the project took its course, returning to the playoffs in 1999 (they had not done so since 1991), where they lost in the second round to Indiana. In 2000 history would repeat itself, the Pacers eliminated the Sixers again.

Allen Iverson y Larry Brown. Foto; Philadelphia 76ers
Allen Iverson and Larry Brown. Photo; Philadelphia 76ers

After defusing the problems between Brown and Iverson, in the 00/01 season, Larry was selected to lead the Eastern team in the All-Star game, while Allen Iverson was the best player in the game. Philadelphia's momentum was worthy of contending for the ring. Ratliff' s injury served to obtain a crucial piece for success, as he was traded along with other players to Atlanta in exchange for Dikembe Mutombo. With a 56-26 record, the Sixers were clear contenders for the ring. In the first round, they managed to defeat Reggie Miller's Indiana Pacers. In the next round, against Toronto, the series had to be defined in the seventh game. Iverson was key in the playoffs, scoring 54 points in the second game and 52 in the fifth. Thus, after dropping the Raptors, whose leader was Vince Carter, they reached the conference finals, which also had to be resolved in the seventh game. Philadelphia recovered from Iverson's injury to arrive in time for the last game and score 44 points to qualify for the final. Philadelphia had not played in the NBA Finals since 1983, when they swept the Lakers. In 2001, history was to repeat itself, but with golden and purple hues. The Lakers won the ring after crushing the Sixers (4-1), equaling a record held by the same Sixers who won the Pennsylvania franchise's last ring (12-1). Although the icing on the cake was missing, the team's effort paid off in individual titles. Iverson was MVP, Mutombo best defender, Larry Brown best coach and Aaron McKie best sixth man.


Iverson transfer. Iguodala the new face of the franchise.

In 2003 Larry Brown ended his tenure as coach, three years later, Allen Iverson gave an ultimatum to the franchise demanding better pieces to fight for success. On December 19, he was traded to Detroit, leaving as team leader a young Andre Iguodala, who had to deal with the pressure. In 2008 they will play playoffs for the first time since Iverson's departure. In the following years, the Sixers alternated irregular seasons with players like Elton Brand, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday (drafted in 2009) or Evan Turner (drafted in 2010 in the second position). In 2012, the Sixers made the mistake of trading Iguodala in a trade that ended up taking Bynum (a player who would not make his debut) to Philadelphia. A serious injury prevented him from making his debut. In the 12/13 season, bad luck took its toll on the team, because although they had formed a promising core, injuries took their toll. In addition to Bynum's injury, there was Jason Richardson's, as well as recurring physical problems of Holiday, Young or Ivey. Only Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes managed to play the entire season. The Sixers were out of the playoffs.


The process and the curse of the draft

The franchise was forced to rebuild. The arrival of Sam Hinkie at the helm made way for it. In 2013 Holiday was traded to the Pelicans, where Nerlens Noel arrived. In the same way, new destinations were sought for Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The rebuilding was underway, but that season they managed 19 wins.

The good news was the rookie of the year award for Michael Carter-Williams, who shined in his rookie season, his best season in the league. With him, the bad luck of the draft picks is inaugurated. Noel, acquired in 2013, did not make his debut in his first season, due to an injury. In 2014, the Sixers counted Embiid in the third position and Payton (via Pelicans) in the tenth position. The dominant Cameroonian center would not play the entire season due to an injury he had picked up during his college career. Payton was traded to Orlando in exchange for Saric's rights. The player decided to stay in Europe. With a record of 18-64, the Sixers had subscribed to high draft picks. In 2015, Jahlil Okafor was picked third, In this case, Okafor was able to complete a decent season. Case contrary to Embiid, who would again get injured and miss the season. Saric in turn, remains another year in Europe. The season ended with Hinkie's resignation, he had managed only 10 wins. That figure allowed Filadeflia to take the number one pick in the draft, selecting one of the best prospects of recent years. Australian Ben Simmons, compared to LeBron James, came to a franchise that was still in the process. The curse of the draft was no stranger to him either, spending the season on the sidelines due to a fifth metatarsal injury. The good news was that Embiid eventually made his debut and with restricted minutes, he averaged 20 points in 31 games played. Dario Saric would be a regular on the team, playing 81 games. Both were selected in the best rookie quintets in a season that ended with 28 wins, the same as in the last two seasons combined.

Los Sixers de las 10 vcitorias. Foto:
The 10-win Sixers. Photo:

The foundations for the project were in place. With the number one pick in the 2017 draft, they selected Markelle Fultz, who true to Sixer tradition played 14 games due to a shoulder injury. Still the draft was beginning to bear fruit. Embíid and Simmons established themselves as a successful pairing, racking up 52 wins (they hadn't gone over 5o since 2001). In the playoffs (they had not played postseason since 2012) they lost to the Celtics. The young core that had settled in Philadelphia was rewarded with the selection of Embiid as All-Star, the rookie of the year award for Simmons and the incursion of Covington in the defensive quintet.

The team was ready to fight for major dues, in 2018 pick Mikal Bridges was traded for Zhaire Smith, who played only 6 games. At the same time in that season were traded Saric and Covington for Butler; Wilson Chandler, Muscala, Shamet and draft rounds for Tobias Harris, Marjanovic and Mike Scott. Finally, the failed draft pick Fultz was traded to Orlando. That year, Simmons and Embiid share presence in the All-Star game . Eliminated in the playoffs by Toronto, future champion, Butler's short tenure came to an end. In the quest to bring the fourth ring, Philadelphia intends to build around Simmons and Embiid a winning team, for this they added to the arrival of Harris (renewed) and Richardson (entered in the Butler's exit operation), the signing of Al Horford. The Dominican signed for 4 seasons.

Ben Simmons y Joel Embiid en el juego de las estrellas. Foto:
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in the All-Star Game. Photo:

Historic players including Wilt Chamberlain, Dolph Schayes, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson are the ones that have played for the organization, and they have a total of 10 jersey numbers retired.

Championships: 3 (1955, 1967, 1983)

Conference titles: 9 (1950, 1954, 1955, 1967, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983, 2001)

Division titles: 5 (1977, 1978, 1983, 1990, 2001)

Biography by Juan Guillermo Salas