Team History

76ers Team History

In the storied history of the 76ers franchise, players like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Allen Iverson are just a few of the superstars who registered some of their finest National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons in Philadelphia. Other Hall of Famers, like Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham and Maurice Cheeks, have earned, too, their reputations -- and retired jersey numbers -- with this celebrated franchise. Philadelphia, one of the country's great basketball cities, and its 76ers are an important part of both the league's history and of its future.

1940s and 50s

The Syracuse Nationals Join the NBA

Nov. 14, 1946: Danny Biasone, the owner and founder of the Syracuse Nationals, sent a check for $5,000 to the offices of the National Basketball League (NBL), thus creating the Syracuse Nationals franchise. Benny Borgmann was hired to coach the team. In the first professional game in Syracuse, N.Y. The Nationals defeated the Bears of Youngstown, Ohio, 67-64.

Nov. 3, 1949: The Nationals defeated Denver on Nov. 3, 1949, in the first NBA game in Syracuse, N.Y. The Nationals joined the NBA in 1949 when six teams from the Midwest- based National Basketball League joined the Basketball Association of America to form the 17-team National Basketball Association. The Nats posted a 51-13 record in their first season in the NBA under the direction of head coach Al Cervi.

Nov. 24, 1949: The Nationals defeated the Anderson Packers, 125-123, in five overtimes at Syracuse, N.Y. The game stands as the longest game in franchise history and the second longest game in NBA history.

April 23, 1950: The Nationals lost to a George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

April 12, 1954: The Nationals, again returning to the finals, lost Game 7, and the series to the Minneapolis Lakers.

1954-55: Marked the first season the 24-second shot clock was implemented in the NBA. Nationals owner Danny Biasone and general manager Leo Ferris conceived the shot clock concept.

April 10, 1955: The Nationals defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons, 92-91, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, capturing the franchise’s first NBA Championship. The Nationals overcame a 17-point deficit.

Feb. 1, 1959: Dolph Schayes recorded the first 50-point game in franchise history when he scored a career-high 50 points (18-34 FG, 14-17 FT) in a 139-137 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.


Basketball Returns to Philadelphia

Dec. 25, 1960: Demolishing the New York Knicks 162-100, the Sixers achieve their largest margin of victory in franchise history.

March 18, 1961: The Nationals, in a series against their future home and future star, defeat the Philadelphia Warriors and Wilt Chamberlain 106-103, completing a three game sweep in the 1960-61 Division Semifinals. The Nats would go on to lose in the Division Finals to Boston, four games to one.

Spring 1963: Ike Richman and Irv Kosloff purchased the Syracuse Nationals from Danny Biasone. The franchise relocated from Syracuse, N.Y. to Philadelphia (May 22, 1963) The Nationals marked the return of professional basketball to Philadelphia after the Philadelphia Warriors franchise re- located to California at the conclusion of the 1961-62 season.

Aug. 6, 1963: The Nationals officially change their name to the Philadelphia 76ers. The name was chosen by Walter Stahlberg, of West Collingswood, N.J., who won a contest to name the club.

March 29, 1964: The Sixers finish their first season with a loss in the playoffs to Cincinnati. The season included many other firsts. Dolph Schayes was named to Sixers first coach and guard Hal Greer became the first Sixers All-Star. Jan. 15, 1965: Halfway through the 1964-65 season the 76ers traded Paul Neumann, Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, and cash to the Warriors for Wilt Chamberlain. The trade was the start of something very good for Philadelphia’s second NBA team. The 76ers finished the 1964-65 season at 40-40, good enough for third place in the division behind Cincinnati and Boston.

March 1966: Becoming the first Sixer to lead the NBA in scoring and rebounding, Wilt Chamberlain leads the Sixers to their first Eastern Division title.

Nov. 5, 1966: With a loss to Boston (105-87) the Sixers ended their longest win streak (spanning two seasons) in franchise history at 18 games.

April 24, 1967: After finishing the regular season with an astounding 68-13 record (a franchise record) and crushing Boston’s hopes for a ninth straight title, the 76ers defeated San Francisco 125-122 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, winning the franchise’s second NBA Championship. During the NBA’s 35th Anniversary in 1980, this team was voted the best in NBA history. Oct. 18, 1967: Moving from the Philadelphia Civic Center, the Sixers play their first game in the Spectrum in front of 9,106 fans. The Sixers would finish the 1967-68 season with their third straight Eastern Division title.

Dec. 16, 1967: Wilt Chamberlain scores a franchise record, 68 points in a 143-123 win at Chicago.

Feb. 2, 1968: In a game against the Detroit Pistons, Wilt Chamberlain posts 22 pts., 25 rebs, and 21 assists, completing the only double triple- double in NBA history.


The Arrival of Julius Erving

May 1976: Fitz Dixon purchased the 76ers from Irv Kosloff..

Oct. 21, 1976: Julius Erving was purchased from New York Nets. Erving went on to score 18,364 points and block a franchise record 1,293 shots in 11 seasons with the Sixers.

Nov. 19, 1976: Sixers retire Hal Greer’s jersey No. 15. Greer played 15 seasons with the franchise, Greer scored a franchise record 21,586 points.

Dec. 17, 1976: Sixers retire Billy Cunningham’s jersey No. 32. As a player, Cunningham played nine seasons with the Sixers and was named 1966 NBA Rookie of the Year and was a four-time All-NBA selection.

June 5, 1977: The Sixers fall to Portland, 109-107, in Game 6 of the 1977 NBAFinals. It marked the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

Oct. 19, 1977: Coach Billy Cunningham coaches and wins his first game with the Sixers against Detroit (113-96). Cunningham went on to become the winningest coach in Sixers history (454-196, .698).


Sixers Take Title; Philly Goes Wild

May 16, 1980: In the first season of the three-point line in the NBA, the Sixers captured the 1980 Eastern Conference Championship, but lost to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals (4-2). July 1981: Harold Katz buys the 76ers from Fitz Dixon.

June 8, 1982: After defeating the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Sixers go on to play the Lakers in the NBA Finals, losing the series in six games.

May 31, 1983: Led by Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Maurice Cheeks, the 76ers defeat the L.A. Lakers 115-108, capturing the NBAChampionship. The Sixers culminated a 65-17 regular season and a 12-1 run through the playoffs, with a sweep of the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

June 1984: Drafted Charles Barkley as the fifth overall pick. Barkley played eight seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 14,184 points in 610 games.

March 25, 1986: Sixers retire the microphone of David Zinkoff, the Sixers public address announcer for 22 seasons (1963-85).

Nov. 7, 1986: Sixers retire Bobby Jones jersey No. 24. A member of the 1983 NBA Championship 76ers, Jones played eight of his 10 seasons in the NBA with the Sixers and was named to the NBAAll-Defensive First Team in eight consecutive seasons (1977-84).

April 18, 1988: Sixers retire Julius Erving’s jersey No. 6. Erving played with the Sixers from 1976-87.


Philadelphia Turns into Allen‑Town

March 18, 1991: Sixers retire Wilt Chamberlain’s jersey No. 13. Chamberlain played with the Sixers from 1964-1968.

Dec. 13, 1994: The Sixers post the 2,000th franchise victory over the Miami Heat at the Spectrum.

Feb. 6, 1995: Sixers retire Maurice Cheeks’ jersey No. 10. Cheeks played 15 seasons in the NBA, 11 with Philadelphia, and owns the franchise record for career assists (6,212). April 24, 1996: Comcast- Spectacor purchased the 76ers from Harold Katz.

June 1996: With the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Sixers selected Allen Iverson. In his first season, Iverson set franchise records for rookies in points (1,787), assists (567), field goals (625) and 3-point field goals (155).

Nov. 1, 1996: The Sixers play their first game at the Center, and fall to the Milwaukee Bucks, 111-103.

Oct. 31, 1997: The Sixers unveil their first major logo change since becoming the 76ers in 1963. The logo modernized the old red and blue logo by adding silver, gold, and black.

April 17, 1998: 21,305 fans set the franchise record for home game attendance at the Center as the Sixers play the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls, led by a retiring Michael Jordan won the game 87-80.


Iverson, 76ers Claim Eastern Conference Title

March 30, 2001: Sixers retire Charles Barkley’s jersey No. 34. Barkley played with the Sixers from 1984-1992.

June 6, 2001: Once again, the Sixers and Lakers meet in the Finals, with L.A. as a heavy favorite. Philly shocked everyone by taking Game 1 in L.A. before losing the series in five. The Sixers became the first team to win four major awards in the same season (MVP: Allen Iverson, Sixth Man of the Year: Aaron McKie, Defensive Player of the Year: Dikembe Mutombo, Coach of the Year: Larry Brown).

May 18, 2005: Allen Iverson is named to All-NBA First Team for the third time in his career, and it is the sixth time he has received All-NBA honors. Iverson won the league’s scoring title for the fourth time, joining Wilt Chamberlain (7), Michael Jordan (10) and George Gervin (4) as the only players to accomplish that feat four or more times.

June 23, 2009: Sixers announce brand relaunch with official logo change.


Sep. 18, 2011: NBA Board of Governors unanimously approves sale of the Philadelphia 76ers to an investment group led by Joshua Harris and David Blitzer.

May 14, 2013: Sixers name Sam Hinkie President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.

August 14, 2013: Brett Brown is announced as head coach of the Sixers.

Mar. 1, 2014: Sixers retire Allen Iverson’s No. 3. Iverson played 12 seasons in Philadelphia and scored the second-most points in franchise history.

May 12, 2015: Sixers introduce updated brand identity, including a redesigned primary logo and a series of partial and secondary logo variations in addition to new uniforms which were introduced a few weeks later.

Mar. 12, 2016: Sixers retire Dolph Schayes’ No. 4. Schayes played 15 NBA seasons, including 14 with the Syracuse Nationals before the team relocated to Philadelphia for the 1963-64 season.

Apr. 10, 2016: Sixers name Bryan Colangelo President of Basketball Operations.

Feb. 18, 2018: Joel Embiid starts 67th NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. First 76er to be named an All-Star game starter since Iverson in 2009-10

Feb. 8, 2019: Team retires Moses Malone’s No. 2. Malone appeared in 357 games over five seasons with the 76ers, averaging 21.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 33.1 minutes per game and earning All-Star nods in four straight campaigns from 1982-86. He led the team to the 1983 NBA title.

April 10, 2019: With 51 wins in the 2018-19 season and 52 in 2017-18, this marked the first time the 76ers have won 50-plus games in back-to-back seasons since doing so in seven straight from 1979-86.