Height: 6'7"

BORN: June 3, 1943


DRAFT: 1965; Round 1, 5th Overall Pick















Few basketball careers can match that of Billy Cunningham, who starred on the New York playground, at North Carolina, and with the 76ers. Known as “The Kangaroo Kid” because of his leaping ability, Cunningham was a fierce competitor who won three NBA Championships in Philadelphia as a player and as a coach. His winning percentage (.698) as a coach ranks among the highest in NBA history.

The 1966 NBA Rookie of the Year would go on to make four consecutive NBA All-Star Game appearances, and he remains the only person in franchise history to capture a title as both a player (1967) and coach (1983).

Cunningham’s jersey number 32 was retired by the Sixers in December 1976, but was “unretired” at Charles Barkley’s request. Barkley asked permission to wear it in honor of his close friend and Lakers legend, Magic Johnson for the duration of the 1991-92 season.


AWARDS + Recognition

2 time NBA Champion

Billy Cunningham retired as and remains the only person in franchise history to capture an NBA championship as both a player (1967) and as head coach (1983). In the 1967 NBA Finals, he averaged 19.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game as the Sixers defeated the Warriors in six games. In 1983, he coached the team to a 65-17 regular season record before going 12-1 in the postseason.

8 time NBA All-Star

All 4 of Cunningham’s NBA All-Star playing appearances came in consecutive seasons from 1969-72; he averaged 24 points and 6 rebounds per game. Cunningham also coached in the NBA All-Star Game 4 times (1978, 1980, 1981, 1983).

4 time All-NBA

Nine of Cunningham’s 11 professional seasons came in the NBA, and he was named All-NBA in four of them. He was selected to the All-NBA first team in three consecutive years (1969-71) and made the Second Team in 1972.

1 time NBA All-Rookie First Team

In Cunningham’s rookie season in 1965-66, he played in 80 games, primarily serving as the 76ers’ sixth man, and averaged 14.3 points and 7.5 per contest. He was named to the league’s All-Rookie First Team.

2 time NBA Anniversary Team

Cunningham was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1997, and 75th Anniversary Team in 2022, making him one of seven players in Sixers franchise history to have earned a spot on both lists (Barkley, Chamberlain, Erving, Greer, Malone, Schayes).

Cunningham’s Second Act

Six games into the 1977-78 season, Cunningham replaced Gene Shue as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. In his time with the team, he reached both the 300- and 400-win milestones faster than any coach in NBA history to that point, and led the Sixers to the playoffs in each of his eight seasons. His three NBA Finals appearances are the most in franchise history (1980, 1982, 1983), and he remains the winningest coach in 76ers history. Upon his retirement in 1985, his 454 wins were 12th best in the NBA all time, and he still holds the second-best regular season winning percentage of .698 (only Phil Jackson ranks higher).

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