In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s look back at the history of the “City of Brotherly Love.” The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most beloved teams in the NBA. There is a lot of history with this team.
Many great NBA players have suited up for the 76ers over the years. Some were even Hall-of-Famers. Today, the 76ers are still relevant and feature some of the top players in the league.
In this article, we rank the five greatest Philadelphia 76ers players of all time. Note that this ranking will only account for the history of the team after their relocation to Philadelphia in 1963. Who makes the cut? Who is number one? Keep reading to find out!
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5. Moses Malone
When discussing the all-time NBA greats, Moses Malone is often forgotten and left out. One of the most underrated legends in NBA history, Malone was an excellent rebounder and a dominant, physical force in the paint. These skills helped him become a three-time MVP.
His best season with the 76ers came during the 1982-83 season. Malone won his third MVP after being traded from the Rockets. That year, he helped lead the 76ers to an NBA championship. He averaged 24 points per game and a league-high 15.3 rebounds that season.
4. Charles Barkley
When discussing the list of all-time great power forwards in NBA history, few were better than Charles Barkley. “Chuck” also lands on the list of the all-time great 76ers players.
Nicknamed “The Round Mound of Rebound,” Barkley was one of the greatest rebounders of all time. This is particularly impressive for a player of his stature. Chuck was also an incredibly efficient scorer. He had an effective mid range jumper.
Charles Barkley was an athletic and versatile NBA player, but what makes him so special is his personality. Off the court, he is an entertaining jokester, but on the court, he was as determined to win as anyone. Barkley’s mentality helped him to play the game of basketball with his best effort every night.
3. Allen Iverson
If he had won a championship in his career, Allen Iverson would have a legitimate case to rank as the best player on this list. Still, A.I. was one of the most beloved players in 76ers history.
Despite being an undersized guard in the NBA, Iverson was still an incredible scorer, averaging about 28 points per game in his career with the 76ers. There was never a night where he didn’t give everything he could to the game.
Allen Iverson was arguably the most influential player in regards to the culture of the modern NBA. He amazed audiences with his incredible ball-handling while sporting his signature headband.
In 2001, Iverson won the MVP award. In the playoffs, he carried Philadelphia to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, Iverson was facing Kobe, Shaq, and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers did not win the series, but Iverson managed to steal one game, scoring 48 points in the effort.
2. Wilt Chamberlain
When you look at the ridiculous numbers Wilt Chamberlain put up in his career, it is sometimes hard to believe that he ever existed. He was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. In fact, he was so dominant that the rules of basketball needed to be changed just so everyone else could compete with him.
As a member of the 76ers, Chamberlain won three MVP awards. That included his first full season with the 76ers, in which he averaged 33.5 points and 24.6 rebounds per game. When Philadelphia surrounded Wilt with a stronger supporting cast, he decided to score less and distribute the ball more. So, his assist numbers went up. He actually led the NBA in assists during the 1967-68 season. If those numbers don’t already seem ridiculous, keep in mind that Wilt had incredible stamina and played nearly every minute of every game.
Wilt’s best season with the 76ers was in 1967, when the team won the NBA championship. Few players have achieved more than Wilt Chamberlain in their NBA careers. He was truly a legend.
1. Julius Erving
Dr. J is the greatest Philadelphia 76ers player of all time. After his time in the ABA, Julius Erving went to the Philadelphia 76ers and shined as a superstar. His legacy was solidified by his MVP in 1981 and his NBA championship in 1983.
The numbers are impressive, but what truly makes Erving great was his impact on basketball. When he joined the NBA, he became the face of the league until Magic Johnson and Larry Bird took over. He went up against the two young superstars in the playoffs and defeated Johnson’s Lakers in a 4-0 sweep in the 1983 Finals.
Dr. J was one of the greatest dunkers of all time and left a lasting legacy as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. He was one of the greatest players of all time, although he is usually underrated when discussing the best of the best. All around, the Doctor was a terrific athlete and one of the most accomplished 76ers players ever.
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