The Greatest Philadelphia 76ers of All-Time


While the Philadelphia 76ers mourns the loss of Darryl Dawkins, arguably a top twenty 76er of all time,  I did some research to see how many “top” lists I could find him on. My general instinct was basically correct as I noticed him on three separate lists and within the top twenty Sixers ever.

More from The Sixer Sense

The Sixers go back to 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The Philadelphia 76ers became a franchise in 1963, carrying three world titles. The Nats captured one back in the 1950s and the Sixers won it all in both 1967 and 1983.

In any event, the passing of the great Dawkins prompted me to consider who I thought were the greatest Philadelphia 76ers of all-time. It was no easy task, especially when you consider that players 6-10 could beat players 1-5 on any given night, for such is the nature of athletics.

Here is what I came up with. As a note to the reader, and a warning before you perhaps gasp in all out disgust, I valued championships as especially noteworthy along with the player’s tenure.

10. Doug Collins (1973-1981)

The NBA’s overall number one pick in 1973 made the NBA All-Star team four times as a Sixer and helped the team reach the 1977 NBA Finals (with Chocolate Thunder). Collins would have scored a lot more points in his career (he had over 7,000) if the three pointer had been introduced.

9. Bobby Jones (1978-1986)

Jones was a seven time All-Defensive team member as a 76er and a key component of the 1983 roster. To understand his value better, consider that he never played for a team that missed the playoffs. A tremendous talent and centered athlete, Jones is considered a Sixers legend.

8. Billy Cunningham (1965-1972) (1974-1976)

He won an NBA title as a player in 1967 and as a Head Coach in 1983. That is impressive. Also special were his three All-NBA first team selections. Cunningham had two separate stints with the Sixers and was selected  for the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team.

7. Charles Barkley (1984-1992)

Barkley became the face of the Sixers’ franchise after the departures of Moses Malone and Julius Erving. An incredibly impressive athlete that supplied tremendous feats, Barkley led the NBA in rebounding as an undersized forward and tallied seven consecutive team leading totals in field goal percentage and rebounding.

6. Maurice Cheeks (1978-1989)

Since I believe that Maurice Cheeks belongs in the NBA Hall of Fame I was tempted to include him in the top five. Cheeks played as a Sixer for over ten years and led the 1983 title team. Cheeks also helped the Sixers appear in three NBA Championship series. A quality NBA point guard and defensive player, Cheeks was fundamental and heady. He shot over 80% from the free throw line in three seasons as a Sixers. He also shot 50% or more from the field for nine straight seasons.

5. Moses Malone (1982-1986) (1993-1994)

An albeit short Sixers career, but Malone was such a good player in so many categories. The 1983 NBA Champion was also the Finals’ MVP. One of the game’s all-time great centers, Malone guided the Sixers to a 12-1 playoff record in 1983. As a Sixer he once made 21 free throws and in another contest blocked 9 shots. In a playoff game as a Sixer he once grabbed 6 steals. He is still relevant.

4. Wilt Chamberlain (1965-1968)

One of the all-time great athletes in the history of the world, was only a Sixer for three seasons. In a 1965 playoff game against Bill Russell and the mighty Boston Celtics, Chamberlain amassed 32 rebounds while scoring 30 points. Also against Boston he once collected 46 points and 34 rebounds, again in a playoff game. During the championship run of 1967 he compiled a quadruple double.

3. Allen Iverson (1996-2006) 

The NBA’s MVP from 2001 was a six time All-Star as a Sixer and a four time NBA scoring champion. Iverson was also the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1996 and guided the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 2001. His ability to score was remarkable. As a rookie he once scored 40 plus points in four consecutive games and over the course of his career, scored 50 plus points in three separate playoff games.

2. Hal Greer (1958-1973)

Greer was drafted by the Nationals and moved with the team to Philadelphia. He helped to guide the Sixers to the 1967 championship and put an end to the eight year reign of Boston. A ten-time All-Star, Greer is an NBA Hall of Famer and was an All-NBA player seven times. Greer is the Philadelphia 76ers all-time leader in scoring, games, minutes, two-point field goals and attempts.

1. Julius Erving (1976-1987)

Thankfully years ago, New York wanted to join the NBA and with the merger agreement, it brought us Julius Erving. A player with an incredible lists of accomplishments, we can also thank Dr. J for pioneering amazing play high above the rim. He scored over 30,000 points in his career but he could also defend. He is the Sixers all-time leader in blocked shots. Erving has a title, a retired number, a member of both the 35th and 50th anniversary NBA teams, and shaped modern basketball history as well as the artistry of sports overall.

What is your list?

Next: How Long Until The Sixers Bring In A Veteran?

More from The Sixer Sense