Ground was broken in June 1966 for what is now known as the Wachovia Spectrum, and 16 months and $7 million later, the arena that would host so many memorable events was completed.
It was announced yesterday that the cozy Spectrum will be torn down following the 2008-09 indoor seasons. So here's a look back at the 10 most memorable Spectrum moments . . . in one person's eyes, of course:
10. Not exactly a great beginning for the new building when, on March 1, 1968, during an Ice Capades show, a portion of the roof blew off, forcing its closure for a month. The Sixers moved home games to Convention Hall and the Palestra. It wasn't so easy for the first-year Flyers, who were forced to play five "home" games at Le Colisee in Quebec City, where their AHL affiliate Quebec Aces played, and one each at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens and New York's Madison Square Garden.
9. We'll combine the 1976 and 1981 NCAA championship games, both won by Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers. The '76 title is best remembered because those Hoosiers (32-0) are the last Division I men's team to go through a season undefeated, beating Michigan, 86-68, in the title game. The '81 game was almost never played, due to the assassination attempt earlier in the day on President Reagan. But the game went on and Knight's club beat North Carolina, 63-50, behind 23 points by Isiah Thomas.
8. On Dec. 8, 1987, with 1 minute, 12 seconds left in the game, Flyers goalie Ron Hextall became the first goalie in NHL history to shoot the puck into the opposition's goal. With the Flyers leading 4-2, Boston goalie Reggie Lemelin was pulled for an extra attacker, and when Bruins defenseman Gord Kluzak dumped the puck into the Flyers' zone, Hextall pounced on it and calmly wristed a shot that sailed about 20 feet in the air before sliding into the Bruins' net.
7. It was a move only Julius Erving could have made. It was Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, May 11, 1980, Sixers vs. Lakers. We'll share how then-Daily News writer Gary Smith described it that day:
"It started with the 76ers up, 89-84, and Erving at a sharp angle right of the basket. He took one hard dribble toward the baseline and then left the planet. There were four problems with this move. One was named Mark Landsberger, another Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, another Jim Chones and the fourth was the black boundary stripe that even includes Erving in its jurisdiction. HE WENT AROUND the first three in one awesome uncoiling of calf muscles and now he was floating partially out of bounds, well behind the backboard. Come now, even Erving's imagination couldn't find an escape from this prison of flesh and glass and borderline, could it? So he windmilled the ball in his right palm to kill time and decide, but by now even gravity was demanding he stop this nonsense. Finally, the fitting climax occurred. He reached from behind the backboard, he reached from out of bounds, he reached around the flailing snake arms of Abdul-Jabbar and Chones and flicked it up with impossibly perfect English off the glass . . . and in, I swear, in."
6. On May 26, 1983, the Sixers and Lakers played Game 2 of the NBA Finals. With starting center Moses Malone on the bench with five fouls, Earl Cureton sealed the win when, with 4:35 left and the Sixers leading by four, he rose over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and launched a perfect sky hook over the shot's master as the Sixers won the second game in what turned out to be a four-game sweep.
5. On May 28, 1987, J.J. Daigneault scored the winning goal in Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup finals against the Edmonton Oilers to force a game seven. With the score tied, 2-2, Daigneault grabbed a clearing pass along the boards near mid-ice. He skated into the Edmonton zone and fired a shot past goalie Grant Fuhr with 5:32 left in the game. Three nights later, in Edmonton, the Oilers claimed their third Cup in 4 years with a 3-1 win.
4. On May 16, 1980, Magic Johnson ripped the hearts from Philly fans with all the thoroughness this city had not seen in a long, long time. With center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back in Los Angeles nursing an ankle injury, the Lakers tipped off against the Sixers, who were trailing 3-2 in the championship series. Lakers point guard Johnson jumped center, then, for 47 of the next 48 minutes, stomped the Sixers for 42 points (14-for-23 from the floor, all 14 free throws), 15 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot in a 123-107 win for the Lakers.
3. On Jan. 11, 1976, the Soviet Central Red Army hockey team, considered the best in the world, visited Broad and Pattison to take on the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers. Rarely had the "Broad Street Bullies" been so bullying. "We have never played [against] such animal hockey," said Red Army coach Konstantin Loktev in explaining his decision to remove his team from the ice for 16 minutes after a check by Flyers defenseman Ed Van Impe leveled Valeri Kharlamov. They should have stayed off the ice. The Flyers outshot the Soviets, 49-13, and used goals by Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Joe Watson and Larry Goodenough for a 4-1 win. Goalie Wayne Stephenson got the win, starting for Bernie Parent.
2. On Saturday, March 28, 1992, Christian Laettner's one-dribble, fake-left, spin-right, 17-foot jump shot at the buzzer became perhaps the most historic shot in NCAA basketball history. Laettner's Duke team trailed Kentucky, 103-102, in overtime. With 2.1 seconds on the clock, Duke's Grant Hill fired a 75-foot pass to Laettner, who finished one of the most amazing games ever. He made all 10 shots from the floor and all 10 from the foul line en route to 31 points. Duke went on to defeat Michigan, 71-51, in the title game in Minneapolis to capture its second straight title.