Wachovia Complex, 3601 S. Broad St.,
Providing the city with countless highlights, lowlights, and players of legendary and infamous status, the 76ers, or the “Sixers,” has been Philadelphia’s pro basketball team since 1963. The 1967 and 1983 teams won the NBA Championship, and both teams are often included in discussions of the NBA’s all-time greatest. The 1983 team remains the last professional team in Philadelphia to bring home a title.
Beginning in the 1960s with Wilt Chamberlain, the Sixers have always boasted star power if not always a stellar record. The fortunes of the franchise have coincided with the comings and goings of some of the greatest superstars in NBA history, including Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson.
Unfortunately for Sixers fans, most of these stars were ultimately traded in bad deals for the team. These trades, beginning with Wilt going to Los Angeles, followed by Moses Malone to Washington, and Charles Barkley to Phoenix, have resulted in prolonged periods of ineptitude and frustration for players and fans alike.
Allen Iverson was sent to Denver in 2006 after 10 successful years with the team and fans can only hope the pattern of the past will soon change.
Among the enduring legacies of the Sixers is the championship titles, the fierce, bitter, and often personal battles waged against division rival Boston in the 1960s–1990s, the fast-breaking teams of Dr. J. and George McGinnis in the mid to late ’70s, the sustained excellence of the team from the late ’70s–mid-’80s, the explosiveness and candor of Charles Barkley, and the singular talent and heart of Allen Iverson—who in 2001 led the team to its first finals appearance since 1983.
The low points include many poor trades and dubious drafting, but the team’s all-time low was its 9–73 record in 1972–1973, which to this day remains the record for fewest wins in a season by a professional basketball team. Several draft-day decisions crippled the team in the 1980s and early ’90s, including disappointments Shawn Bradley and Sharone Wright—top picks that never delivered.
Games are played at the fan-friendly Wachovia Center. A hard-core fan could complain of too many songs, promotions, and distractions from the actual game, but this is not specific to Philadelphia but more of a general trend in stadiums across the league.
The crowd at a Sixers game is the most diverse in age and ethnicity of any of the pro teams and on a good night, it is an electrifying experience. Tickets are generally not difficult to get and range from $15 in advance to well over $100 on game day, available online or at the stadium.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition