Starting the Syracuse Nationals
Today, $5000 seems like a fairly small sum of money, especially to start a professional basketball team. But that’s the amount of money Daniel Biasone sent the NBA to establish the Syracuse Nationals, who would eventually become the Philadelphia 76ers.
The team would become an instant success, having a great year in even their first season. Their inaugural year would end with them losing in the Finals, but still, going to the Finals in your debut year as a franchise? Not a bad start. It would be a precedent that would carry out, going to three finals in the first six years of their existince.
This $5000 would turn into one of the longstanding basketball franchises in America, and the one that now has its home at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Although the team hasn’t won a championship since 1983, and hasn’t been in a title game since 2001, Philly fans still have their pride about their hometown team, and most still trust the rebuilding process implemented by general manager Sam Hinkie. Even those that don’t agree with the current tanking still watch, and wait for the day the Sixers are back in the playoff conversation.
Syracuse is now left without a pro basketball team, but still produces plenty of big name NBA stars through its university. Syracuse is a smaller city compared to Philadelphia, but it forever has a home in the Philadelphia 76ers history.
The Nationals started playing at the State Fair Colesium in Syracuse, and ended playing at the Onandoga War Memorial. The State Fair Colesium held just 7,500 people. The memorial was a bit of an upgrade, holding 8,000 people with a court down.
The Nationals were involved in three championships in their short 14 year history, and won one of them. They made the playoffs in every single year that they existed, although, it was much easier to make the playoffs then, and often impossible to miss the playoffs.