Most of the people watching the NBA Finals featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat are big time basketball fans. They’re also LeBron James and Kevin Durant fans. Of course, the people from Oklahoma City and Miami are fans of their respective teams.
It’s always nice to have a rooting interest. If you’re a Philadelphia 76ers fan, you can easily be Thunder fans in this series. And this doesn’t have anything to do with Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. It has everything to do with Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks and assistant coach Maurice Cheeks.
Brooks is a great story. He was undrafted coming out of the University of California, Irvine in 1987 and had to go to the CBA and even the World Basketball League before getting his chance to play in the NBA. The Sixers were his first team. Jimmy Lynam was the head coach at the time. Brooks had to make the team and the 5-foot-11 point guard was quite a fan favorite. He played with the Sixers from 1988 to 1990. Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn were his teammates during those years.
He played 10 NBA seasons with a number of teams including the Sixers as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets. In 1994, he played on the Rockets NBA championship team.
In 2000, Brooks started his coaching career as a player/assistant with the Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association. The following season, he was the head coach of the Southern California Surf of the ABA.
Like his playing career, Brooks had to work his way up the professional ladder. He held assistant coaching jobs with Sacramento and Denver before joining the Thunder’s staff as an assistant in 2008 where he worked under P.J. Carlesimo. He was named interim head coach during the 2008–2009 season and was given the job permanently in 2009.
Since becoming the Thunder’s head coach, Brooks has emerged as one of the best coaches in the league. This is just his third season on the job. In 2010, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year after his second season. Last year, he guided Oklahoma City to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals before losing to the Dallas Mavericks, the eventual league champions. Now, Brooks has the Thunder in the championship round.
Good point guards make great decisions, and bringing Cheeks on board as an assistant was certainly a good one. Cheeks was a fan favorite with the Sixers. In 1983, he led the Sixers to the NBA championship, playing alongside Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones. He should land in the Hall of Fame some day. He has a lot of experience. He was a long time assistant with the Sixers under head coaches John Lucas, Johnny Davis and Larry Brown. He had two stints as a head coach with the Portland Trail Blazers (2001–05) and the Sixers (2005–08). In 2008, Cheeks was let go as the Sixers head coach.
It’s nice to see him on the sidelines again. Westbrook is the point guard for the Thunder. His play as the team’s floor general has been impressive throughout the postseason. You can see where he has benefited from the knowledge and experience of Brooks and Cheeks as well as veteran backup Derrick Fisher.
It’s nice to see two guys make a small market team into one of the elite franchises in the NBA. If the Thunder can beat the Heat for the league title, Brooks and Cheeks could wind up with rings not only as players, but as coaches, too. For Philly fans, that’s something worth rooting for.
Andrew Bynum has given the Philadelphia 76ers somebody this organization hasn’t had in a long time. And that’s a dominant big man at both ends of the floor. Of course, the Sixers had Dikembe Mutombo when they made their run to the 2001 NBA Finals. But Mutombo was mostly a presence at the defensive end of the court.
The most renowned Sixers big men were Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone. Chamberlain led the 1966–67 Sixers to an NBA championship. Malone guided the 1982–83 Sixers to a league title. Nobody is making any comparisons among the three players or even Mutombo. Nevertheless, when the Sixers have been a force, they usually have had a big time player around the basket. Now Doug Collins, Sixers head coach, has that luxury with Bynum in the paint.
“Obviously, we’ve become a power team,” Collins said. “We went from an under-sized team two years ago. I think our finishing team had Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young on the frontline. Now, you look we got Andrew, Spencer (Hawes), Kwame (Brown), Lavoy (Allen), Thad (Young) and (Arnett) Moultrie. We got such a big line-up.”
Bynum will be the driving force behind the Sixers power game. He also opens things up for the perimeter players such as small forward Dorell Wright, and guards Nick Young, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and the newly acquired Jason Richardson. When the defense collapses, he can kick the ball back out for what should be an easy outside shot from one of the guards or small forwards.
“The good part about it is we’ve added shooting,” Collins said. “If you go back to the day we met after our last game, we said we wanted to get bigger, more athletic on the frontline and we wanted to get more shooting. You draft for talent and you trade for need. When you get some good players, especially a team that wants to rebuild, you got a chance for things to happen.”
The Sixers made a big impression with the fans earlier this week during a public press conference for Bynum and Richardson. Both players came to the Sixers as a part of a four-team trade involving Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic. The Sixers traded forward Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets while sending forward Maurice Harkless and center Nik Vucevic to the Magic along with a protected first round pick. The Lakers received all-star center Dwight Howard from Orlando.
Bynum, a 7-foot, 285-pounder, was originally selected by the Lakers with the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft out of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J. This past season, he averaged career-highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game and was selected as a starter for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game. Bynum, 24, was very impressed with the welcome and the enthusiasm from the fans.
“Hopefully, they can match my energy and keep it going,” Bynum said. “They came out in a big way to support us. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this and to be honest I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like when we get a sold out arena.”
Bynum grew up in Plainsboro, N.J., just beyond Princeton. He’s expecting to have a lot of fans at the Wells Fargo Center. Bynum has a chance to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. But he had some great things to say during the press conference, which excited the fans.
“My first experience here’s been so great,” Bynum said. “I’m really leaning toward making this my home.”
The Sixers finished the shortened NBA season with a 35-31 record. They defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Sixers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in seven games in a tough Eastern Conference semifinal matchup. Bynum sees a lot of potential with his new team.
“I looked over the roster,” Bynum said. “I said, ‘They’re actually pretty deep.’ They lit us up the last time they played us. I know they have skills. I know Spencer (Hawes). I know Kwame. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the guys.”
Bynum will be heading to Germany to undergo an experimental procedure on his knee in September. This procedure doesn’t require surgery. Bynum is expected back in time for training camp, which starts October 2. In the meantime, Collins believes next month to be really important for his players.
“I think everybody is going to be committed,” Collins said. “We’re going to try to get guys in after Labor Day and get them to start working out with one another. We have some guys coming back we’ll be counting on to be leaders. You have Jrue, Evan, Thad and Spencer who have been around a little bit. I want them to be vocal about how we do things.
“I think all these guys will want to be committed. They’re all really good players. We’re going to hit the ground running. It’s going to be a little different. We know everybody. We got off to a great start (last year). Every day in practice is going to be important.”
NOTE: Bynum has won two NBA championships with the Lakers (2009, 2010). Last season, he ranked 20th in the league in scoring, third in rebounding, sixth in blocks (1.93) and fourth in field goal percentage (55.8 percent).
Team celebrates half century in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers are celebrating their 50th season in Philadelphia this year. Before coming to Philly and becoming the 76ers in 1963, the franchise was known as the Syracuse Nationals and played there for 14 seasons, winning an NBA title in 1955.
Since then, the Sixers have won two NBA championships in Philadelphia in 1967 and 1983. The franchise has produced a lot of outstanding players such as Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Billy Cunningham, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson.
The Philadelphia Tribune has selected 50 players over the last half century who should bring back some great memories for fans.
7-1, 275 pound center
Chamberlain was undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time. He led the 76ers to an NBA championship in 1966-67. He averaged 24.1 points a game that season. That team was voted one of the top 10 greatest teams in NBA history.
6-6, 200 pound forward
Erving was one of the game’s most spectacular players. He guided the Sixers to the 1983 NBA title. Fans will always remember his spectacular dunk over Lakers guard Michael Cooper.
6-10, 275 pound center
Malone was the missing piece to the Sixers championship puzzle in 1983. He was a great scorer and rebounder. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
6-6, 220 pound forward
Cunningham was one of the greatest sixth men in NBA history. He averaged 18.5 points a game for the 76ers 1966-67 championship team. He won a championship as a player and coach in the Sixers organization.
6-2, 175 pound guard
Greer was a tremendous shooter from 15 feet. Once he got his feet set he rarely missed a shot. He was a key player on the Sixers 1966-67 championship team.
6-61/2, 215 pound forward
Walker was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a great player on the Sixers 1966-67 championship team. Walker was known for backing his man down and shooting the fade away shot.
6-5, 250 pound forward
Barkley was a special player with his size. He had the ability to get position around the basket against anybody. Barkley could really jump and dunk the basketball and was a great rebounder. During the 1985-86 season, he grabbed 1,026 rebounds.
6-0, 175 pound guard
Iverson was a scoring machine. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He could break his man down and take the ball to the basket like no other. Iverson led the 2001 Sixers to the NBA Finals. He was an MVP and four-time NBA scoring champion.
6-1, 180 pound guard
Cheeks was a great floor general. He looked for the open man. He didn’t turn the ball over. A lot of fans will remember the dunk he had in the final game of the Sixers NBA championship series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Toney had a great first step off the dribble. He could shoot from long range. Unfortunately, injuries to both feet shortened his career. Toney was a big part of the Sixers 1983 championship team. In 1982 he scored 34 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to lead the Sixers to victory.
6-2, 180 pound guard
Jones played in the backcourt with Hal Greer on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team. He was a great ballhandler, shooter and defender. Jones was a hometown favorite. He was a big star at Overbrook High and Villanova.
6-9, 210 pound forward
Jones was a tremendous defensive player. He usually guarded the opposing team’s best scorer. He was the sixth man on the Sixers 1983 NBA championship team.
6-9, 250 pound forward
Jackson was a rugged rebounder. If Wilt Chamberlain didn’t get the rebound, that meant Jackson usually had it. He was the starting power forward on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team.
6-2, 175 pound guard
Clark was known for his shake and go moves. He used to make some terrific moves to the basket. Clark also played in the Baker League during the summer months.
6-6, 180 pound guard
Collins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. He did a great job of getting open for his shots. He moved well without the ball. He was a good shooter. He played on the Sixers 1976-77 team that reached the NBA Finals. He’s now the Sixers head coach.
6-8, 235 pound forward
McGinnis helped put the Sixers back on the NBA map. McGinnis and Julius Erving led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 1977. He was known for his one hand push shots. He could handle the ball, too.
6-6, 207 pound guard
Iguodala was traded to the Denver Nuggets this past summer. He spent eight seasons with the Sixers. Iguodala had arguably his best season last year, leading the Sixers to a first round playoff series win over the Chicago Bulls. He was named to the all-star team and won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic basketball team.
6-5, 209 pound guard
McKie played eight years with the Sixers. He was a real fan favorite growing up in Philly playing at Simon Gratz and Temple. In 2001, he was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. He also helped the Sixers get to the NBA Finals. He’s now an assistant coach with the Sixers.
7-2, 260 pound center
Mutombo was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. He was a great shotblocker and rebounder. He played on the Sixers team that reached the 2001 NBA Finals.
6-11, 217 pound center
Jones was a terrific defender. He had great timing in terms of shotblocking. He played on three Sixers teams that went to the NBA Finals.
6-11, 250 pound center
Dawkins was known for his spectacular dunks. In fact, he had names for some of his dunks like Chocolate Thunder, Spine-Chiller Supreme and Sir Slam. He played on some of the Sixers best teams.
World B. Free
6-2, 185 pound guard
When he first came to Philly, he was known as Lloyd Free. He’s now World B. Free. He used to shoot those rainbow jumpshots. He was a magnificent scorer. He scored 17,955 career points.
6-7, 215 pound forward
Anderson was one of the great sixth men in the Sixers organization. He played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Carter played on the Sixers 1972-73 team that had a horrible 9-73 record. He was the best player on that team. He averaged 20.0 points a game that season. Carter also played with Doug Collins and George McGinnis on the Sixers 1975-76 playoff team that lost to the Buffalo Braves in a best of three games series.
6-10, 260 pound center
Mahorn and Charles Barkley formed one of the toughest frontcourts in the NBA. They were known as “Thump and Bump.” Mahorn was a very physical player around the basket.
6-9, 250 pound forward
Gilliam was a great low post player. He was a good scorer. He played three seasons with the Sixers. He played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn. Gilliam passed away in 2011.
6-3, 190 pound guard
Hawkins was a good shooting guard. He played on three playoff teams. He averaged 20.3 points a game his final season (1992-93) with the Sixers.
6-2, 200 pound guard
Miller had great three years with the Sixers. Two of those years, the Sixers made the playoffs. He was a sensational point guard. He’s still one of the league’s savvy playmakers.
6-7, 215 pound forward
Mix had a special place on the court. It was called Mixville. It was in the corner on the right hand side of the basket. That’s where he scored most of his points. He played nine seasons with the Sixers.
6-6, 218 pound guard
Stackhouse was a first round pick of the Sixers in 1995. He played two seasons with the Sixers. In 1996, Stackhouse and Allen Iverson both averaged over 20 points a game. They were one of the NBA’s top scoring backcourts.
6-7, 240 pound forward
Weatherspoon played six years with the Sixers. He usually had to play against players a lot bigger than him up front. Nevertheless, Weatherspoon had some big years with the Sixers. In 1994, he averaged 18.4 points a game.
6-1, 175 pound guard
Williams played seven seasons with the Sixers. He signed with the Atlanta Hawks over the summer. Williams was a second round pick of the Sixers right out of South Gwinnett High School near Atlanta, Ga. He could shoot the basketball. He led the Sixers in scoring (14.9) off the bench last season.
6-3, 204 pound guard
Snow was the floor leader on the Sixers 2001 NBA Finals team. He was a tough defender. He took care of the ball. Snow did a good job of getting the ball to Allen Iverson in scoring position.
5-11, 165 pound guard
Barros could really shoot the basketball. He played just two seasons with the Sixers. He averaged 20.6 points a game in 1994-95. He also made the all-star team in 1995.
6-9, 254 pound forward
Brand was a big free agent signing in 2008. He had shoulder surgery in 2009, but bounced back from the injury to play some good basketball for the Sixers during his four years. The team released him last summer with the NBA’s amnesty clause. He now plays for the Dallas Mavericks.
6-10, 270 pound forward
Coleman could play inside as well as outside. He could handle the ball. He had some of his best games in the playoffs.
6-2, 170 pound guard
Dawkins played in the backcourt with Hersey Hawkins. They formed a tandem of Dawkins and Hawkins. Dawkins also played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn. He’s now the head basketball coach at Stanford.
6-3, 201 pound guard
Green played seven seasons with the Sixers. He was a solid player. Green was a second round pick out of Detroit Mercy. He started and came in off the bench for the Sixers.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Hollins played on two great Sixers teams. In 1980, he helped the Sixers get to the NBA Finals. He brought a lot of experience with him from Portland where he guided the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title. He played in the backcourt with Maurice Cheeks. He’s now the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.
6-1, 190 pound guard
Costello played for head coach Alex Hannum with the Sixers. He played on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team. Unfortunately, he tore his Achilles tendon that season. He had a good career as a player. He also was an NBA head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.
6-10, 225 pound forward
Ratliff was a great defender and rebounder. He could run the floor. He had two stints with the Sixers. He played well both times.
6-11, 250 pound center
Gminski played with Rick Mahorn and Charles Barkley. The Sixers had a solid frontline with him. He had the ability to step out and hit the 12 to 13 foot shot. He played four seasons with the Sixers.
6-9, 218 pound forward
Catchings could really jump. He was a great shotblocker. He ran the floor. He hustled for loose balls. He played five seasons for the Sixers (1974-79). Catchings played on the Sixers 1977 team that went to the NBA Finals.
6-9, 200 pound forward
Bryant played four seasons with the Sixers. He was a very popular high school player at Bartram and La Salle respectively. He played on the 1977 NBA Finals team, which featured Julius Erving, George McGinnis and Doug Collins. Bryant came off the bench with Darryl Dawkins and World B. Free. Of course, he’s the father of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
6-4, 190 pound guard
Hornacek came to the Sixers from the Phoenix Suns in the Charles Barkley deal. He spent two seasons in Philly. In 1993, he had his best season averaging 19.1 points a game.
6-4, 205 pound guard
Malone played three seasons for the Sixers. He was a great shooter. He had a knack of getting open for his shots by using picks. In 1995, he averaged 18.4 points a game.
6-2, 185 pound guard
Threatt was a sixth round pick out of West Virginia Tech by the Sixers in the 1983 NBA draft. He came into camp and landed a spot with the Sixers. Threatt played four seasons with the Sixers. He also played in the Charles Baker League during the summer months.
6-1, 185 pound guard
Bibby was an All-American at UCLA. He won three NCAA championships. He won a NBA championship with the New York Knicks. He played on two Sixers teams, which advanced to the NBA Finals (’77, ’80). He was a good ballhandler with a nice touch from long range.
6-8, 230 pound forward
Lynch did all the little things to help the Sixers get to the 2001 NBA Finals. He played defense, rebounded and hit some timely jumpshots. He was a big contributor.
6-9, 210 pound forward
Cureton was good player off the bench. He played defense, rebounded and went after loose balls. Cureton’s big moment came during the Sixers championship run in 1983. He hit a hook shot over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the shot clock winding down in the second game of the championship series. It was a big play for him as well as the Sixers.
The Sixers open their 50th season on October 31 when they host the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center.
The game of basketball should be played where the ball goes inside and then comes out. You need a big man around the basket to make this happen, a player who can score, rebound and close down the lane defensively.
Andrew Bynum can do all those things.
The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team blockbuster trade. The Sixers also received shooting guard Jason Richardson. In the process, the Sixers traded All-Star guard and Olympian Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Vucevic to the Orlando Magic and Maurice “Moe” Harkless, this year’s first round draft pick, to the Magic.
The Lakers received a huge package in all-star center Dwight Howard and Orlando got Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, and one protected first round selection from each of the three teams involved with the deal.
The Sixers will miss Iguodala’s spectacular play in the open court and his defense. Ironically, Iguodala’s debut as a Nugget will be against the Sixers on Oct. 31 in Philadelphia for the team’s home opener.
However, they now have Bynum, a 7-foot, 280-pounder who is one of the top players in the NBA. With Howard now in the West, Bynum immediately becomes the best big man in the East. Bynum, who grew up in Plainsboro, N.J., is only 24 years old after entering the NBA right out of high school as the 10th pick of the Lakers in 2005. He was a McDonald’s All-American when he played at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, N.J.
He has already won two NBA championships (2009, 2010) with the Lakers. He made the all-star team for the first time last season, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game while leading the Lakers to playoffs.
The Sixers defeated the Lakers on Feb. 2 in Philadelphia, 95-90. But Bynum was terrific in that contest, tallying 20 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists. The Sixers should revolve their offense around him. Obviously, teams will collapse on him inside, but that’s exactly what you want. This way he can kick the ball back out to players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson for easy shots on the perimeter.
Philly should be able to climb the ladder in the Eastern Conference with him. Miami won the NBA championship in the spring. But the Sixers just got a whole lot closer with Bynum in the middle.
The Sixers finished in the eighth spot in the conference. They defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs with Chicago missing two of its top players for most of the series in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The Sixers were very impressive in the Eastern Conference semifinals too, losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Bynum could take them to the next level. After Miami, you have the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets as the teams to watch. The Sixers are right there.
There aren’t a lot of dominant centers in the NBA today. The Sixers have one of them. Philly’s best teams have been the ones with outstanding centers. In 1966–67, the Sixers won the NBA championship with Wilt Chamberlain in the middle. In 1982–83, the team had center Moses Malone, which helped it capture an NBA title.
Bynum has already won two NBA crowns. He played with some great players such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and others. Nevertheless, he knows how to win and that should really help the Sixers.
Of course Bynum is in the final year of his contract and will be looking for a big deal. The Sixers could offer him a reported $100 million over five years. The Sixers should have a good chance to re-sign him.
He’s worth the investment.
Even in absentia from the opening night roster, Andrew Bynum heard a roaring ovation when he was introduced.
By the end, the loudest cheers were reserved for the active big man in the middle: "Spen-cer Hawes!"
Hawes had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an 84-75 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.
Hawes was set to start at power forward alongside Bynum until the All-Star center's knee injury forced third-year coach Doug Collins to shuffle his lineup. Hawes accepted the shift to sixth man without complaint and proved how valuable he'll be around the basket with Bynum absent.
On opening night, Hawes even heard chants of "MVP!" from a rowdy crowd of nearly 20,000 fans holding lofty expectations for the Sixers.
"We want to be the kind of team they can embrace," Hawes said. "We have big expectations this year. We know we have to contribute whatever way we're asked."
Hawes and Jrue Holiday turned away a Nuggets team late in the fourth that whittled a 13-point deficit down to one off a Ty Lawson jumper.
Holiday was fouled on a fallaway jumper and made the free throw for a 74-70 lead. Hawes then stuffed a driving Lawson, was fouled, and made two free throws to stretch it back to six in a matter of seconds.
Hawes buried a jumper to make it 78-70 and the crowd went wild with "MVP" chants for the 7-foot-1 center. Oh, Hawes had one more block for good measure to seal the win.
Holiday had 14 and 11 assists, and Dorell Wright scored 14 points for the revamped Sixers.
After the game the team announced they signed Holiday to an extension.
"I'm ecstatic to continue playing in Philadelphia," Holiday said. "I'm going to keep putting in the work and pushing myself every day in order to bring a championship to the city and our fans."
A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that it was for four years and worth at least $41 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it is team policy not to disclose contract terms. The Sixers had until midnight to strike a deal or risk Holiday becoming a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Lawson led Denver with 16 points in his first game since signing a $48 million, four-year extension. Andre Iguodala scored 11 points in his first game since the Sixers traded him to Denver in the four-team deal that netted them Bynum.
The Sixers underwent a massive overhaul that saw them dump pricey veterans Iguodala, Elton Brand and Lou Williams. They brought in Bynum, Wright, Jason Richardson and a cast of reserves expected to build off last season's surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Iguodala returned after an eight-year career with the 76ers where he became an All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. He heard loud, intense boos during pregrame introductions and was booed about every time he touched the ball. The Sixers did air a video tribute at the first timeout of his finest moment as a Sixer, when he sank the winning free throws with 2.2 seconds left in a 79-78 victory over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6, helping them advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2003. Fans stood and cheered him for the first and only time of the game.
He thanked the Sixers and their fans on his personal website Wednesday, writing, "I will always share my accomplishments with the city and the organization and I thank you both for all that you have done for me."
Iguodala criticized the Sixers after the deal and said he hadn't "really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years. He said after the game the comments were not a shot at Collins. But Iguodala made it clear the fact he never became the franchise player the fans expected after an $80 million, six-year contract weighed on him.
"I was really saying, I didn't get to enjoy success," Iguodala said. "I made the All-Star team, played on the USA team, played on the 2010 (World Championships) team, and it seemed like every time I stepped back on the court, it wasn't enough."
He added: "Money always plays a role in how someone is percieved or looked at as far as production. I feel like I made a huge impact on my team night in and night out, whether it showed up on the stat sheet or not, and it was always brought up. Every night, you're thinking, this last game I played good, but it's still not enough, not enough, not enough."
Sixers die-hards may have never truly embraced Iguodala, but they roared when Bynum walked out of the tunnel at pregame introductions.
Bynum remains indefinitely sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee. The Sixers are being cautious with Bynum and refuse to rush him back.
They'd rather have the services of the center considered the best in the East for the long haul instead of a few games, or even a few weeks, at the start of the season.
With the way Hawes played around the basket, Bynum can afford to get all the rest he needs.
Notes: Denver forward Danillo Gallinari sat out with a sprained left ankle. ... The Sixers brought back former greats Moses Malone and Dikembe Mutombo. ... Hawes addressed the crowd before the game and told them to get ready for a great season. ... The Sixers wore their alternate blue uniforms with red trim. ... The crowd of 19,101 was not a sellout. -- (AP)
The Philadelphia 76ers’ final home game this Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers will have plenty of significance. The Sixers will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1982-83 NBA championship team. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 14 at the Wells Fargo Center at 3:30 p.m. The team will be honored at halftime.
The members of the Sixers 1982-83 team expected to be in attendance include former players Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Moses Malone, Clemon Johnson, Clint Richardson, Franklin Edwards, Reggie Johnson and Earl Cureton. Also expected is Pat Williams, the general manager of that team, and John Kilbourne, who was the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Pro basketball was really big in Philadelphia at that time. The Sixers had a great rivalry with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Actually, the year before they won the championship the Sixers had lost to the Lakers in six games in the NBA Finals.
The Sixers made a huge trade during the offseason to acquire Malone, an all-star center from the Houston Rockets. Malone joined Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones. The starting lineup was Malone, Erving, Cheeks, Toney and Marc Iavorini. Jones was the sixth man. That was a tremendous team. The Sixers sent four players — Erving, Malone, Cheeks and Toney to the all-star game that season. In addition, Billy Cunningham, Sixers head coach, was the coach of the Eastern Conference all-stars during that year.
The Sixers had a great backcourt with Cheeks at point guard and Toney at shooting guard. Erving was a spectacular small forward. Malone was a dominant center who could play defense, score and rebound. Iavorini was a power forward who did all the little things to help the team win as the perfect role player.
The Sixers finished the regular season with an impressive 65-17 record. They had the best record in the league. Malone had his famous saying, “Fo’, fo’, fo,’” on the Sixers way to the championship. The team came really close to that prediction. They finished with a sensational postseason mark of 14-1. In the first playoff series, the Sixers swept the New York Knicks 4-0. Then, they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 to win that series. After that, the team got the brooms out again for the Lakers sweeping 4-0 to win the NBA crown. The 1982-83 team has the best playoff record in NBA history.
Following 25 seasons in New York, the Syracuse Nationals move to Philly in 1963, which is now 50 seasons of pro basketball in this town. The Sixers have produced some of the greatest players in NBA history such as Chamberlain, Erving, Malone, Cunningham, Cheeks, Toney, Hal Greer, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and others. The Sixers hold the third most playoff appearances and third most wins in league history.
NOTES: All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative poster of the 1982-83 team. Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter will present a proclamation to the team and declare the day “Philadelphia 76ers 1982-1983 Day.” Mayor Nutter will also present a second proclamation to the Sixers owners.