Sixers honor 1966-67 championship team
One of the greatest teams in NBA history was honored Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers had an on-court ceremony for members of their 1966-67 championship team during halftime of the game with the Boston Celtics. It was fitting that the celebration came on a night the Celtics were in town.
One of the greatest teams in NBA history was honored Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 76ers had an on-court ceremony for members of their 1966-67 championship team during halftime of the game with the Boston Celtics. It was fitting that the celebration came on a night the Celtics were in town.
The 1966-67 squad, led by Wilt Chamberlain, dethroned the eight-time defending NBA champion Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. Then they beat the San Francisco Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals.
That Sixers squad finished the regular season with a then-NBA record 68 wins against just 13 losses.
Hal Greer said that he knew back then that the team would be remembered as one of the all-time greats.
"The talent was there," the 10-time all-star said Saturday, his first time in Philadelphia in 25 years. "Of course, the big guy [Chamberlain], he was already there. Billy Cunningham was the best sixth man since [Boston's] John Havlicek. We knew we had the material. All we had to do is get it all together.
"That's what [coach] Alex Hannum did. He got it together and we won it."
The Sixers averaged a league-leading 125.2 points per game. Chamberlain shot 68.3 percent from the field while averaging 24.1 points, 24.2 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. Greer was the second-leading scorer at 22.1, followed by Chet Walker (19.3) and Cunningham (18.5).
All four of those players and Hannum went on to become Hall of Famers.
Back in 1980, the squad was tabbed as the best team in league history during the NBA's 35th anniversary celebration. In 1996, Chamberlain, Cunningham, and Greer were recognized as three of the league's all-time top 50 players for the 50th anniversary celebration.
"Historically speaking, that was the first time that they ever had five African Americans starting on both teams when we finally beat Boston," Wali Jones said of the conference finals. "And when we beat them, all of the players that I played against around the league said, 'Thank you.' We finally stopped the dynasty. It's like a historical event when you got eight years off that."
Jones, who stood out at Overbrook High and Villanova, also went on to become the answer to the trivia question "Who scored the most points for the Sixers in their championship-clinching game?" Jones scored a team-high 27 points as the Sixers won the NBA championship with a 125-122 victory over the Warriors in the sixth game of the Finals on April 24, 1967.
On Saturday, he and members of the team were presented with their framed jerseys during the halftime ceremony.
"I mean this is the City of Brotherly Love team," said Jones, who grew up in West Philly. "I bleed Philadelphia. That's what it is. When you see guys that you played with [come back for a reunion], it's just phenomenal."