The Philadelphia 76ers, popularly known as the Sixers, is an American professional basketball team which competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games in the city of Philadelphia. Founded in 1946 and originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA and one of only eight (out of 23) to survive the league’s first decade.
The Sixers have won three NBA championships (1955, 1967, and 1983). The team has a prominent history, with many All-Star and Hall of Fame players having played for the organization. This article highlights some of the top Philadelphia 76ers of all time.
1. Julius Erving
Julius Erving, born 22 February 1950, was a Sixer in the last 11 years of his career between 1976 to 1987. Widely considered one of the most talented players in the history of the NBA, he won three championships, four MVP awards, and three scoring titles. He is the eighth-highest scorer in ABA/NBA history, and throughout his career, none of his teams ever missed the postseason. Erving was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
2. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson, colloquially known by his initials, “AI”, was born on 7 June 1975 is easily one the most iconic players for the Philadelphia 76ers. Also known by the nickname, “the Answer”, he played for the Sixers between 1996 and 2006, and again for the 2009/10 season. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. Iverson was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 1996–97 season. He won one MVP award and four scoring titles. His regular season career scoring average ranks seventh all-time, and his playoff career scoring average ranks second.
3. Wilt Chamberlain
Best remembered as the only player to score 100 points in a single game, Wilt Chamberlain was born on 21 August 1936. He played for the Sixers between 1965 and 1968. Chamberlain holds 72 NBA records, two NBA championships, one NBA Finals MVP award, and four NBA MVP awards. He led the league in scoring seven times, rebounding eleven times, and once in assists. His dominating performances led the league to change several rules, has his jersey retired by 3 different NBA franchises, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
4. Moses Malone
Born on 22 March 1955, Moses Malone played for the Sixers between 1982 and 1986 and again for the 1993/94 season. Nicknamed “Chairman of the Boards” for his rebounding prowess, he was the league leader in rebounds six times. He won an NBA title with the 76ers in 1983 and was also the Finals MVP. He finished his career as the all-time leader in offensive rebounds and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
5. Dolph Schayes
Dolph Schayes, born on 19 May 1928, joined the Syracuse Nationals in 1948 and played with them until their relocation to Philadelphia. He retired in 1964 after playing the entirety of his 16-year career, 1,059 games, for the franchise. Schayes won an NBA championship with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955. He was a 12-time All-Star and the rebounding leader in 1951. After the Nationals moved to Philadelphia, Schayes became player-coach of the 76ers. He stayed on as coach for two more seasons after retirement and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1966. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.
6. Hal Greer
Born on 26 June 1936, Hal Greer also spent the entirety of his career with the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers. He played for the franchise from 1958 through 1973. He won an NBA championship in 1967 with the Sixers. Greer was a 10-time All-Star and was the All-Star game MVP in 1968. His No. 15 jersey is retired by the 76ers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
7. Charles Barkley
Nicknamed “Sir Charles“, “Chuck“, and “the Round Mound of Rebound“, Charles Barkley, born on 20 February 1963, played for the Sixers between 1984 and 1992. He was an incredibly efficient offensive force, leading the NBA in 2-point field goal percentage every season from the 1986/87 season to the 1990/91 season. A dominant rebounder, was an 11-time All-Star, an 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and the 1993 MVP. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 and is widely recognised as one of the top Philadelphia 76ers player of all time.
8. Billy Cunningham
Billy Cunningham, born on 3 June 1943, was renowned for his leaping and record-setting rebounding abilities. He spent a total of 17 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers nine seasons as a player and eight seasons as head coach. Cunningham won a championship in 1967, was an All-Star for four straight seasons from 1969 to 1972, and was a member of the First Team All-NBA from 1969 to 1971. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
9. Chet Walker
Born on 22 February 1940, Chet Walker played for the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers from 1962 to 1969. His speed and agility earned him the nickname “Chet the Jet.” He was an NBA All-Star seven times between 1964 and 1974, winning a championship in 1967. As a testament to his status of one of the top Philadelphia 76ers, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
10. Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones, born 18 December 1951, was a Sixer in the last 8 years of his career between 1978 to 1986. Nicknamed “the Secretary of Defense” for his admirable defensive ability, he won an NBA championship with the 76ers in 1983, was a four-time NBA All-Star, an eight-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team, and was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1983. His No. 24 jersey is retired by the Sixers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.