March 28, 2021
On Saturday October 15, 1966, fans embraced the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, and Billy Cunningham as the Sixers came out of the tunnel for their final Opening Night at the Philadelphia Civic Center. This would be the last year the Sixers played at the Civic Center, as the Spectrum was opened less than a year later. What fans did not know was that they were about to witness one of the best teams the city of Philadelphia has ever had to offer.
''That was the greatest team in the history of basketball… I'm talking about all kinds of basketball, including the Dream Teams.''
This team started the year with a bang, winning 46 of their first 50 games, setting the tone for what ended up being a magical year in 76ers history. Led by a pair of 30 year old future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer, this Sixers team dominated on both sides of the ball. Ranking 1st in point per game and 3rd in points allowed, these Sixers decimated the rest of the league to the tune of 68 wins and 13 loses.
Finding themselves at the top of the league was a surprise to everyone throughout the basketball world. While they had great players like Wilt (who averaged 24 points and 24 REBOUNDS per game), the Boston Celtics had run the league the previous decade. Winning 9 of the last 10 NBA Championships, the Bill Russell led Celtics had finally met their match.
Cruising through the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Sixers dethroned the Cincinnati Royals, winning the series 3-1 (first round series were only five games back then). The team was led by its two man wrecking crew, Chamberlain and Greer each had two 30-point games in the series.
Next came the daunting Celtics. Going up 3-1 in the series, the Sixers had the luxury of playing Game 6 in Philadelphia. On April 11, 1967, with an overflowing crowd of 10,000+ strong (capacity was 9,600), the 76ers had five players score 20 or more points. Led by a 29 point, 36 rebound game from The Big Dipper himself, the Sixers were able to eliminate their arch rivals 140-116, sending them to the NBA Finals for the fourth time in team history.
After reaching the Finals, the Sixers made quick work of their opponents, the San Francisco Warriors, winning the series 4-2. Despite a masterful performance in Game 6 by the Warriors Rick Barry, the depth of the Sixers was too much for San Francisco to handle.
More recently, in an article from 2020, Bleacher Report ranked these Sixers as the 14th best team of all time. While we can agree to disagree on that ranking, we will always remember the 1966-67 Sixers as one of the best in Philadelphia history.
You can vote for the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers basketball team in the third round of our Philly's Greatest Team bracket!
September 10, 2022