You can’t talk about basketball without talking about Philly, as the City of Brotherly Love has always been known for having one of the fiercest and loudest fanbases in the NBA, even if the team has mightily struggled to compete over the last decade.
The former Syracuse Nationals and 3-time NBA Champions are currently facing a transition stage, giving the reins of the team to a lot of promising youngsters and being in the spotlight over the last 3 seasons or so due to their bad results and all those interesting players they’ve brought along.
So now, with guys like Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid on board, the Sixers have a bright future ahead of them. Nevertheless, they’ve also had a very nice history, so let’s take a look at the 10 best players to ever wear a Philadelphia 76ers uniform.
10. Maurice Cheeks
Mo was one of the most iconic players in 76ers history thanks to all those eleven seasons playing for Philly, where he led the team to 3 NBA finals and one NBA championship, becoming one of the undisputable starters thanks to his averages of 14 points and 8 assists per matchup.
At 33 years old, Mo was dealt to the Spurs, and then he also played for the Knicks, Hawks and Nets, and he’s now a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching staff. Nevertheless, he’ll always be remembered as one of the league’s most skilled defenders, owning the 5th spot on the All-Time steals leaders as well as being 10th in assists.
9. Chet Walker
You’ll have to go way back to remember Chet the Jet, so, unless your grandpa or your father talked you about the Small Forward, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ve even heard this name until today.
Nevertheless, Walker was actually a pretty dominant player during his Syracuse Nationals tenure, even being included in the first rookie team thanks to his averages of 12.3 points and 7.3 boards per game during his rookie season. The Jet was part of the team that stole the championship from the dominant Boston Celtics, playing alongside guys like Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Wali Jones before leaving to play for the Chicago Bulls, where he retired in 1975.
8. Dolph Schayes
Another former Syracuse National, the father of Danny Schayes, “Dolph” was one of the most durable, reliable and consistent players in NBA history, with over 1000 games played between 1949 and 1962, playing for the Sixers through his entire 15-year career.
The power forward was selected fourth overall by the New York Knicks, but was immediately dealt to the 76ers, where he became a 12-time All-Star and the leading scorer of the league at the time, leaving lifetime averages of 18.5 points, 12.1 boards and 3.1 helpers per game and playing 764 games in a row, showing how durable the Dolph was.
7. Billy Cunningham
Of course we can’t leave the Kangaroo Kid outside of this list, as the former Tar Heel small forward is definitely another one of the all time glories of this franchises, becoming a 5 time all star, a hall of famer, one of the league’s 50 best players and having his number 32 jersey retired at Philly.
He was also a crucial part of the NBA Champions team that also featured Hal Greer and Wilt Chamberlain, averaging an impressive 26.1 points and 13.6 boards. Sadly, his professional career only lasted 10 years, as an injury forced him to retire at the age of 32, spending 8 of his 10 seasons with the Sixers
6. Hal Greer
Also a part of the team that won the first ring for the Sixers, Greer was the starting point guard for Chamberlain’s squad, and he also spent his entire 15 year career as a National/76er, putting up pretty decent averages of 19.2 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game in more than 1100 games played for the franchise.
Besides, “Hal” was a 10-time All-Star (And even an All-Star MVP), and the former Marshall player was even selected as one of the best 50 basketball players of all-time in 1996, being part of the most important roster in 76ers history and having his number 15 jersey retired by the team.
5. Moses Malone
We definitely have to give Moses Eugene Malone a spot on the list, as the center was one of the most dominant and influential players of his generation, being an instant fan favorite and one of the best players to ever lace them up and set foot on an NBA Court.
Malone played for a lot of teams through his 21-year career, playing for the Utah Stars, the Spirits of St. Louis, the Buffalo Braves, the Houston Rockets, the Washington Bullets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Atlanta Hawks and the San Antonio Spurs, but his prime definitely came with the Sixers, where he played alongside other legends like Doctor J, Mo Cheeks and Bobby Jones, defeating Magic Johnson and the Lakers to win the third (and last) ring of the franchise.
4. Charles Barkley
Always arrogant, always polarizing, always harsh, that’s just how Chuck was (and is), but we can’t deny the fact that the power forward is one of the most talented and dominant guys to ever play in the NBA, leaving career averages of 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 54.1% shooting through 15 years.
It’s very likely that we all link Barkley with the Suns, as the best years of his career came at Phoenix. Nevertheless, a lot of people tend to forget that he was drafted by the 76ers, where he spent 8 full seasons before making his move to Phoenix, even joining Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone and Julius Erving, failing to reach the NBA Finals as the Sixers lost in 6 games against the Boston Celtics.
3. Allen Iverson
You can’t think about Philly without instantly thinking about “The Answer”, as Allen Iverson was not only one of the best players to ever wear a Sixers uniform, but also one of the most influential and talented players any sport has seen, taking the NBA to new frontiers and making millions of fans fall in love with this beautiful game.
With his jersey now retired and as a Hall of Fame member, Iverson will be remembered by his killer crossover, his athleticism, his fierce attitude and his offensive power, becoming one of the most difficult guys to guard in the sports’ history (just ask Michael Jordan or Tyronn Lue).
2. Wilt Chamberlain
What can we say about Chamberlain that hasn’t already been said? Wilt was arguably the most dominant player in NBA history, although the game was way different back then. Nevertheless, you can’t take away the sick numbers of Wilt the Stilt, that averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 board per game through his 15-year career.
We all remember Chamberlain as a part of the Lakers, but before arriving in LA, “Goliath” was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for 4 years, where he averaged 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game, where he became an NBA Champion and won a couple of MVP awards.
1. Julius Erving
Dr. J is definitely the best player in the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers history, as the small forward influenced hundreds of players and was (alongside Allen Iverson) the most representative player in the franchise's history thanks to his amazing dunks, his outstanding 2-way ability, and his athleticism.
Erving spent 11 years a Sixer after playing for the New York Nets, where he won an MVP award and an NBA ring, as well as earning the honors to be an All-Star in every single season as a Sixer. Besides, his success went way further than the court, owning a lot of products and being an instant fan favorite. Through his career, Dr. J averaged 24.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists on 50.6% shooting, earning the top spot on our list.