TheSportster.com

Top 15 Best Players In Philadelphia 76ers History

Believe it or not, there was once a time in the not-so-distant past when the Philadelphia 76ers were considered one of the NBA's most revered franchises. Founded in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals, the

Believe it or not, there was once a time in the not-so-distant past when the Philadelphia 76ers were considered one of the NBA's most revered franchises. Founded in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals, then transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love in 1963, the 76ers are one of the eight remaining teams from the association's original twenty-three. Their storied history contains three NBA championships, a handful of hall of famers, and some of the most groundbreaking, influential players of all time. Men like Dr. J and Allen Iverson weren't only incredible players, but they changed the game of basketball forever.

Unfortunately, today, the 76ers are somewhat of a joke. Their aggressive tanking crusade, wherein they intentionally wracked up as many loses as possible and horded picks in order to maximize draft potential, has made them the laughingstock of the association (It also doesn't help that they drafted a center in the first round three years in a row). The result has been a combined 47 wins in the past three seasons, a lot of young talent, and seemingly infinite derision. However, this past draft, the Sixers may finally have landed the franchise star they've been waiting for: Australian wunderkind Ben Simmons. Simmons is young with a faulty jump shot, but he's also hyper-athletic and versatile, and if he can scrape even the surface of his sky high potential, he could be a game changing basketball player. So, in honor of the 76ers maybe finally getting their groove back, this list will look back at some of Philadelphia's best and most cherished ballers.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Andre Iguodala

via nydailynews.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA All-Star

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive Second Team

- NBA All-Rookie First Team (2005)

Andre Iguodala is a damn good basketball player. He's a capable scorer, a hellacious defender, and most importantly, he understands that the secret to winning basketball is selflessness. Today, he's well known as a key component of the record breaking Golden State Warriors, but he was originally drafted ninth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2004. A jack-of-all-trades guard, Iggy spent his first two seasons sharing the back court with Allen Iverson. However, when the team traded AI in 2006, Iggy became the team's showcase player and his numbers spiked, averaging 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2 steals a game in 2006-2007. He continued that level of player for a few seasons before his points per game numbers began to decline when the team drafted Jrue Holiday in 2009. However, he made his sole All-Star team in 2011-2012, on the back of his versatility and defensive ability. The following summer, Iguodala was traded to the Denver Nuggets, as a part of the massive exchange that sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles and Andrew Bynum to Philly.

14 Doug Collins

via hoopshabit.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 4 Time NBA All-Star

Today, people are probably more familiar with Doug Collins as a coach or the television analyst who plays the straight man to Jalen Rose's boundless exuberance. That's fair, considering his career only spanned eight seasons before knee and foot injuries sidelined him permanently. Drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1973 (you're a little surprised right now), Collins quickly developed into an All-Star after a rocky rookie season that saw him play only seventeen minutes a game. He officially broke out during 1975-1976, averaging 20.8 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 steals a game, and making his first of four consecutive All-Star teams. Once Julius Erbing joined the team in 1976, Collins became the perfect sidekick for the endlessly athletic Dr. J. Unfortunately, his stats began declining in 1979 as his injuries mounted and he was forced to retire early in 1981.

13 Chet Walker

via chatsports.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 3 Time NBA All-Star

- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1963)

Chet Walker was one of those good, but not great, NBA players that have vanished from everyday basketball conversation for whatever reason, usually because they've been overshadowed by more prolific players of their eras. Drafted twelfth overall by the Syracuse Nationals in 1962, Walker quickly evolved into one of the franchise's marquee players after their move to Philadelphia in 1963, making his first All-Star team as a sophomore while averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game. The 1966-1967 season was arguably Walker's best as a Sixer, when he averaged 19.3 points and 8.1 rebounds a game. In the playoffs that year, Walker helped Wilt Chamberlain win his first, and the franchise's second, NBA Championship, averaging 21.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game through fifteen postseason games. In 1969, he left the 76ers for the Chicago Bulls, where he went on to play some of his best ball.

12 Dikembe Mutombo

via marca.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Defensive Player of the Year

- 2 Time NBA All-Star

- 1 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time All-NBA Third Team

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive First Team

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive Second team

- 1 Time NBA Rebounding Leader

The lovable giant with the voice of Cookie Monster, it's truly astonishing how much Dikembe Mutombo was able to achieve in just roughly one and a half seasons in the Philadelphia. Originally drafted fourth overall by the Denver Nuggets in 1991, Mutombo signed with the Atlanta Hawks in 1996 and was then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001. In Philly, Mutombo was the immovable defensive anchor alongside Allen Iverson's neigh-unstoppable offensive onslaught. At the end of 2001, Mutombo won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and made the All-NBA Second Team, averaging 10 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks a game. In the playoffs that year, Iverson and Mutombo dragged an otherwise lackluster Sixers team to the Finals, where they were inevitably toppled by an almost perfect Shaq and Kobe Lakers squad. After that loss, Mutombo played one more season in Philly before he was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2002.

11 Maurice Cheeks

via trendingtoplists.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 4 Time NBA All-Star

- 4 Time NBA All-Defensive First Team

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Mo Cheeks! Maurice Cheeks wasn't an offensive superstar by any means, he only averaged 11.1 points per game over his entire career, but he made up for it by being one of the greatest defensive point guards of all time. Drafted thirty-sixth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1978, Cheeks came out the gates swinging, averaging 11.4 points, 7 assists, and 2.3 steals a game as a sophomore. He managed to maintain that level of play his entire eleven season tenure in Philly. In 1982-1983, Cheeks made his first All-Star game and helped Dr. J and Moses Malone win an NBA Championship. Between 1985 and 1988, Cheeks made three straight All-Star teams and played the best ball of his career, averaging 15.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 2.6 steals a game in 1986-1987. Cheeks signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 1989, then bounced around the league for a few years before retiring in 1993. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #10 in his honor.

10 Larry Costello

via syracuse.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 6 Time NBA All-Star

- 1 Time All-NBA Second Team

Larry Costello is an old, old basketball player, old enough that he was drafted five years before Wilt Chamberlain, and as a player, he was a Philadelphia lifer. Originally drafted twelfth overall by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1954, he was traded to the Syracuse Nationals in 1957, where he immediately unlocked his potential and showed the Warriors exactly what kind of player they had given up. Starting in 1957-1958, Costello went on to make five straight All-Star appearances, averaging no less than 13.8 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds a game over those five years. He initially retired in 1965, but came up back for the 1966-1967 season to he would team up with Wilt Chamberlain, also a former Philadelphia Warrior, and win the NBA Championship. He officially retired a Sixer in 1968.

9 Bobby Jones

via spox.com

- 1 Time NBA Sixth Man of the Year

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 2 Time NBA All-Star

- 6 Time NBA All-Defensive First Team

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive Second Team

It's a shame that Bobby Jones doesn't get talked about more often, because he has one of the most impressive defensive resumes of any basketball player ever. Originally drafted fifth overall in 1974 by the Houston Rockets, Jones instead opted to play for the Denver Nuggets in the ABA, and the NBA when the team joined the league in 1976. However, the Nuggets traded Jones to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1978, where he would go on to have the best run of his career. Jones was never known for his offensive game, but made up for it with his lockdown defense (and the fact that he got to play with Dr. J and Moses Malone). His best season came in 1981-1982, when he averaged 14.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks a game and made his second straight All-Star team with the Sixers. In 1983, Jones helped Dr. J and Moses win their only NBA Championship. He retired a few seasons later, in 1986. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #24 in his honor.

8 Billy Cunningham

via sports.mearsonlineauctions.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 4 Time NBA All-Star

- 3 Time All-NBA First Team

- 1 Time All-NBA Second Team

- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1966)

Billy Cunningham had a weird career. Originally drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1964, Billy Cunningham never played for another NBA besides the Sixers. He wasted no time becoming a superstar in the league, averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists and helping Wilt Chamberlain claim his first NBA Championship his sophomore season. Once Wilt left the team in 1968, Cunningham exploded as the team's unquestioned alpha dog, averaging 24.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists a game in 1968-1969 and making four straight All-Star appearance from there. However, he chose to leave the NBA in his prime, in 1972, for the ABA. He played two seasons in the ABA for the Carolina Cougars, even making an ABA All-Star team, then returned to the Sixers in 1974, two years before the merger, and played two more seasons before retiring. Additionally, in 1983, he would coach the franchise to their third NBA Championship. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #32 in his honor.

7 Charles Barkley

via foxsports.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 6 Time NBA All-Star

- 1 Time NBA All-Star Game MVP

- 4 Time All-NBA First Team

- 3 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time NBA Rebounding Leader

- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1985)

Charles Barkley had a unique career arc for a superstar. He played for three different teams, being traded twice in his prime, in pursuit of an NBA Championship. Although he never got that coveted ring, he's still considered an all-time great in the sport of basketball, and he got his start in the City of Brotherly Love. Drafted fifth overall by the Sixers in 1984, the same year as Michael Jordan and future teammate Hakeem Olajuwon. Under the tutelage of Moses Malone, Chuck didn't wait long to become the high scoring Round Mound of Rebound everyone knows and loves today, averaging 20 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks a game his sophomore year. That season marked the first of eleven straight All-Star appearances, six with the Sixers (HA! FUNNY!). He was eventually traded to the Phoenix Suns in 1992, where he would have arguably the best run of his career. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #34 in his honor.

6 Moses Malone

via espn,com

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 1 Time NBA Finals MVP

- 1 Time NBA Most Valuable Player

- 4 Time NBA All-Star

- 2 Time All-NBA First Team

- 1 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time NBA All-Defensive First Team

- 3 Time NBA Rebounding Leader

First off: R.I.P. Moses.

Moses Malone is a lot of things in NBA history. He's one of the sport's all-time best rebounders, he's one of the most durable basketball players ever, and he's easily one of the fifteen best players of all time. He also played for seven different teams in his NBA tenure, a distinction usually reserved for journeymen and fringe starters, not all-world talents. Moses began his career in the ABA, then was eventually sent to the Houston Rockets in the ABA Dispersal Draft in 1976, then signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1982. He only played four years in Philly, but he made his mark in the City of Brotherly Love. Over his four season tenure with the club, Moses averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds (4.6 offensive!), and 1.3 blocks a game, making four straight All-Star teams and winning a slew of other awards. In 1983, alongside Dr. J and Bobby Jones, Moses led the Sixers to their most recent NBA Championship, averaging 26 points and 15.8 rebounds per game in the playoffs and claiming Finals MVP honors. He was traded to the Washington Bullets in 1986.

5 Wilt Chamberlain

via bigcartel.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 3 Time NBA Most Valuable Player

- 4 Time NBA All-Star

- 3 Time All-NBA First Team

- 1 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time NBA Scoring Champion

- 3 Time NBA Rebounding Leader

- 1 Time NBA Assists Leader

- NBA All-Time Rebounds Leader

Few players in NBA history have been as unfairly maligned as Wilt Chamberlain. He's derided for the era he played in, not having to play with certain restrictions (such as offensive interference rules), and only having two rings despite being an absolute force of nature. Regardless of whatever criticism, Wilt is no doubt one of the best basketball players ever. Originally drafted to the Philadelphia/San Francisco/ Golden State Warriors in 1959, Wilt was eventually traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1965, where he continued his onslaught on the association. In his first season, Wilt averaged 33.5 points, 24.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists a game (and God knows how many blocks) and won his first of three straight MVP awards. In 1967, Wilt, alongside Hal Greer and Larry Costello, Wilt finally won his ever-sought after NBA Championship, making the Sixers the only team between 1959 and 1969 to win a championship besides the Boston Celtics. One year after that victory, Wilt was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for three players. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #13 in his honor.

4 Dolph Schayes

via slamonline.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 12 Time NBA All-Star

- 6 Time All-NBA First Team

- 6 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time NBA Rebounding Leader

Remember how old Larry Costello is? Well, Dolph Schayes is even older than that (He actually played before the league started recording rebounds in 1950). Drafted fourth overall in 1948, the league's third season, by the Syracuse Nationals, becoming one of the first megastars of professional basketball. He wasn't the highest scoring player, and by modern standards, his career .380% is gut wrenching, but he was a consistent scorer and a ferocious rebounder. Throughout his fifteen season career in the NBA, all of which he spent with the Nationals/76ers, Schayes averaged 18.5 points and 12.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a game and made twelve straight All-Star appearances between 1951-1962. In 1955, he brought the franchise their first NBA Championship, averaging 19 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists a game in the playoffs. He retired from active play to become a coach in 1964. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #4 in his honor.

3 Hal Greer

via wikiwand.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 10 Time NBA All-Star

- 1 Time NBA All-Star Game MVP

- 7 Time All-NBA Second Team

- Philadelphia 76ers All-Time Leading Scorer

Shooting guard has often been one of the most talented stacked positions in NBA history. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Jerry West, Allen Iverson, James Harden, etc. It's not shocking that some names are going to get lost in that crowd. Hal Greer is one of those names. Drafted thirteenth overall by the Syracuse Nationals in 1958, Jerry West was one of the most versatile, highest scoring guards of his generation. Over his fifteen year career in the NBA, all of which he spent with the Nationals/76ers (Hal Greer and Dolph Schayes were weirdly similar), Greer averaged 19.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists a game and made ten straight All-Star appearances between 1961-1970 (Seriously, very similar). When the Sixers traded for Wilt Chamberlain, Greer got lost in the big man's shadow, reluctantly playing second banana to four time league MVP. However, Greer shined in the 1967 playoffs, when he and Wilt led the team to their second championship, averaging 27.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists a game, actually leading the team in scoring throughout the playoffs. Greer retired in 1971, arguably still in his prime. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #15 in his honor.

2 Julius Erving

via theafricanamericanathlete.sportsblog.com

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Champion

- 1 Time NBA Most Valuable Player

- 11 Time NBA All-Star

- 2 Time NBA All-Star Game MVP

- 5 Time All-NBA First Team

- 2 Time All-NBA Second Team

Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J, may have been the absolute coolest player in NBA history. He was one of the most athletic men to ever play the game, he was one of the most versatile men in NBA history, and he turned dunking into an art form. Seriously, people didn't say "slam dunk" before Dr. J. His impact on the game is undeniable. Originally drafted twelfth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1972, Dr. J played in the ABA from 1971-1976, becoming the league's biggest star. When the ABA and NBA integrated in 1976, Dr. J's contract was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers and he would go on to play his entire NBA tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. In the NBA, he was as good as advertised, averaging 22 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks a game. In 1980-1981, his MVP season, he averaged 24.6 points, 8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks a game. In 1983, alongside fellow all-time great Moses Malone, Dr. J claimed his only NBA Championship. He retired in 1987, one of the highest scorers in the history of professional basketball (Seriously, if you add in his ABA points, Dr. J has over 30,000 career points). The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #6 in his honor.

1 Allen Iverson

via richestcelebrities.org

Notable Achievements w/ the 76ers:

- 1 Time NBA Most Valuable Player

- 7 Time NBA All-Star

- 2 Time NBA All-Star Game MVP

- 3 Time All-NBA First Team

- 3 Time All-NBA Second Team

- 1 Time All-NBA Third Team

- 4 Time NBA Scoring Champion

- 3 Time NBA Steals Leader

- NBA Rookie of the Year (1997)

- NBA All-Rookie First Team

What a career Allen Iverson had. What an impact he left on the league. A trail blazing player who normalized tattoos and cornrows and excessive jewelry in the NBA (and forced David Stern to implement a dress code, 'cause to hell with fun), AI was one of the most profoundly groundbreaking men in the history of the association. Drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, over Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash, Iverson wasted no time making his mark, averaging 23.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals a game and winning the 1997 Rookie of the Year award. He continued on that masterful path, carving up the league with his neigh-unstoppable offensive abilities. His best season came in 2000-2001, when he won the league MVP award, averaging 31.1 points (league high), 4.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals (league high) a game, and dragging a Sixers team that started Eric Snow to the NBA Finals, where they managed to steal a win from a Shaq and Kobe Lakers team that was then-undefeated in the playoffs. Behavioral issues plagued Iverson throughout his career and he was eventually traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2007. This year, he was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The Philadelphia 76ers have retired #3 in his honor.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NBA

Top 15 Best Players In Philadelphia 76ers History