Philadelphia 76ers HISTORY

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Syracuse Nationals


Quick facts:

Founded:                      1946
Arena:                        Wells Fargo Center
Division Championships:       11(Last one in 2001)
NBA Titles:                   3 1955, 1967, 1983

Syracuse Days
The Nationals were founded in 1946 and joined the already established National Basketball League. Despite being in one of the larger markets in the NBL the Nationals found it difficult to win games as the rival BAA began luring players away from the NBL all together.

Even though they struggled the Nationals managed to make the playoffs in all three years in the NBL. The Nationals were one of many teams to join the NBA when the NBL and BAA merged in 1949.

Behind Dolph Schayes the team finally started seeing success and made the first NBA finals where they would lose to the Philadelphia Warriors. They would make the finals again in 1954 and again in 1955 where they would capture the franchises first NBA title.

Syracuse proved to be too small and the team was looking to move, even though they were year in and year out one of the best teams in the NBA. Eventually they found their opening when the Warriors left Philadelphia for San Francisco, the Nationals swooped in and became the Sixers.

Trading Places:
In one of the greatest oddities in NBA history, four players played for both teams during the same NBA game. This happened because there was a protest of a game played between the Nets and 76ers on November 8, 1978 and the replay of the game was done March 23, 1979 and in the meantime the Nets and 76ers had made a trade that sent Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson from Philadelphia to New Jersey and Eric Money and Al Skinner from the Nets to the 76ers.

This is the only time in NBA history where players started a game with one team and finished it with another. There have been several instances where games were replayed and players played who were not on the teams originally due to injures, suspensions and trades.

NBA Pioneer Dolph Schayes Passes Away at Age 87

Schayes was a star big man in his basketball career for the Syracuse Nationals, the precursor to the Philadelphia 76ers. Thought, unlike, other bigs of his era, Schayes possessed the ball handling skills of a guard. His ball handling and passing ability made him nearly unstoppable and ranks him second in the early NBA era of big men behind only George Mikan.

He was drafted by the Knicks of the BAA and by the Waterloo Hawks of the NBL, but the Hawks sold his rights to the Syracuse Nationals. The Nationals offered Schayes more money than the Knicks, so high signed there instead of joining the bigger market Knicks.

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