76ers

Celebrating 29 years since Wilt Chamberlain's No. 13 jersey retirement

Celebrating 29 years since Wilt Chamberlain's No. 13 jersey retirement

There’s a reason why one of Wilt Chamberlain’s many nicknames was “The Record Book”. During the span of his 14-year professional career, the 7-foot-1 center was at the forefront of some of the most legendary moments in basketball history. Many of those moments were in Philly, where he spent four seasons (1964-68), won regular season MVP three out of those four seasons and led the team to an NBA championship in 1967.

To commemorate the 29-year anniversary of Chamberlain’s No. 13 jersey being retired with the Sixers, let’s take a look at 13 of his most iconic achievements on the court that cemented him as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and one of sports’ most treasured athletes.

1. Rookie of the Year
1959 was quite the year for Chamberlain. By the end of his rookie season, he averaged 37 points, 27 rebounds, and made his first NBA All-Star appearance. Before he entered the league, no rookie had ever led the NBA in scoring until he totaled an unbelievable 2,707 points. Wilt the Stilt won Rookie of the Year and became the first rookie to be awarded league MVP. No one else stood a chance.

2. Chamberlain vs. Russell
Chamberlain and Bill Russell were known rivals on the court and to this day are neck and neck in some of the league’s all-time records. But on Nov. 24, 1960, Russell and his Boston Celtics were no competition for Chamberlain and his Philadelphia Warriors. Wilt set the NBA record for most rebounds in a single game with 55 rebounds. To this day, Wilt Chamberlain is the No. 1 rebound leader in NBA history (23,924 total). Bill Russell sits at No. 2 with 21,620.

3. The 100-point Game
It wouldn’t be a complete list of Wilt’s greatest achievements without mentioning the 100-point game. He may not have been a Sixer when he recorded it on March 2, 1962, but he was playing for Philadelphia back when the Warriors were the city’s team. The only person to ever come close to breaking Wilt’s record was the late Kobe Bryant, who dropped 81 points in a Lakers win against the Raptors in 2006.

4. 200 rebounds
In the 1965 Eastern Division playoff series that ended in defeat for the Sixers, Wilt still came out with a win. While competing against arch nemesis Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, Chamberlain racked up the most rebounds in a seven-game playoff series with 220 total.

5. A team effort
During the 1966-67 season, Wilt took advice from then Sixers coach Alex Hannum and decided to focus more on assisting his teammates, passing the ball, and shooting less. That same year, Wilt and the Sixers eliminated the Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals and defeated the San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Finals. This was his first NBA Championship.

6. 1967 Eastern Division Finals
Chamberlain was instrumental in ending the Celtics eight-year run of NBA titles. The Boston Celtics fell short in the 1967 Eastern Division Finals (1-4) and failed to advance for the first time in 11 years. In Game 3 alone, Wilt scored just 20 points, but set a playoff record with 41 rebounds. He led the Sixers to the Finals and the team won their second NBA championship, beating the San Francisco Warriors. Alongside guys like Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, Chamberlain and the ’67 Sixers logged a 68-13 record that year – their best record to date and the fifth best NBA record of all time.

7. TRIPLE-Double-Double
Feb. 2, 1968, Chamberlain recorded the NBA’s first 20-20-20 feat in NBA history with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists while competing against the Detroit Pistons. The only other player to do so was Russell Westbrook in 2019 – over 50 years later.

8. No breaks
The night of Wilt The Stilt’s 100-point game, he played the entire 48 minutes. When overtime was factored in, he averaged over 48 minutes by the end of the 1961-62 season earning him the top spot for most minutes played that year (3,882). Unreal.

9. No foul-outs
Chamberlain played a total 1,045 games throughout his 14-year career and managed to never foul out.

10. All-time scorer
Of the top five NBA All-Time scorers, Chamberlain holds the first (4,029 pts), second (3,586 pts), fourth (3,033 pts) and fifth (2,948 pts) spot, with Michael Jordan sandwiched in between him at No. 3 (3,041 pts).

11. Most 50-point games
Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to break the 100 mark for most 50-point games, totaling 118. In terms of active players, James Harden is the closest to breaking that record – he has 23.

12. 30,000
Chamberlain became the first NBA player to score 30,000 points in his career. He reached the milestone while still with the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 16, 1973, a month before his retirement.

13. No. 13
No. 13 wasn’t just his jersey number, it was also the amount of times he was an NBA All-Star. He was the All-Star Game MVP in 1960.

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How to watch Sixers vs. Suns: Storylines, live stream, game time and more

How to watch Sixers vs. Suns: Storylines, live stream, game time and more

Updated: 2:54 p.m.

The Sixers on Tuesday will face the only team yet to lose in the NBA’s “bubble,” and they’ll do so with a depleted roster. 

Here are the essentials for the matchup between the 42-28 Sixers and 32-29 Suns:

When: 4:30 p.m. with Sixers Pregame Live at 4  
Where: Visa Athletic Center 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

Playing it safe 

Ben Simmons had successful surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee on Monday, Joel Embiid is out with the left ankle injury he sustained in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and Josh Richardson will rest. Tobias Harris (right ankle soreness) and Al Horford (left knee soreness) are out, as well, meaning the Sixers won’t have any player from their opening night starting lineup available. 

Though the Sixers are just a half-game behind the No. 5 seed Pacers, a cautious approach is perfectly reasonable under these circumstances. While it seems Embiid’s injury is not severe — Brown said he expects him to play again before the postseason — the Sixers can’t afford more injuries to key players. 

The hottest team in the NBA 

Just like the Sixers’ last two opponents, the Suns are on the playoff bubble, no pun intended. Because of their impressive run so far at Disney World, Phoenix is a half-game behind current ninth seed Portland and a game back of the Grizzlies. 

Their 6-0 record includes wins over the Mavs, Clippers and, most recently, the Thunder. Devin Booker, who scored 40 points on 15 for 19 shooting against the Sixers on Nov. 4, has averaged 30.3 points and 6.0 assists in Orlando. Since Richardson and Simmons are out, expect Matisse Thybulle to match up often with Booker. 

“It’s a huge challenge,” Thybulle said Monday. “I’m lucky that I have a coach that trusts me to go out there and see what I can do. Like I said, it’s a huge challenge, I’m excited for it and we’ve got good guys that have my back and allow me to go out there and make some gambles and take some risks to try to make plays, and the whole time having my back to have me covered in case it doesn’t work out.” 

Former Sixer connections on the Suns include head coach Monty Williams, previously an assistant under Brett Brown (as well as a player here in the 2002-03 season) and Dario Saric. Villanova product Mikal Bridges, technically a Sixer for about 20 minutes on draft night two years ago, starts for the Suns. 

'Nobody's feeling sorry for us'

It matters less than Simmons and Embiid’s health in the big picture, but the Sixers’ effort to erase a 17-point deficit and nearly beat the Blazers on Sunday was commendable. 

The Sixers have faced those kind of shorthanded situations on a somewhat regular basis this season, so perhaps they’re equipped to respond a bit better than most teams.  

“Just keep going,” Mike Scott said. “It’s not the first time it’s happened to us since I’ve been here, so just keep going, next-man mentality. Hopefully, we’ll have everyone healthy by the playoffs. Obviously, prayers go out to Ben, hopefully he comes back strong and healthy first. But it’s next-man mentality. Nobody’s feeling sorry for us. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

Scott and Glenn Robinson III are among the Sixers who will likely get a bump in minutes Tuesday. 

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2020 NBA draft: Will Thunder's 1st-round pick convey to Sixers? It's going down to the wire

2020 NBA draft: Will Thunder's 1st-round pick convey to Sixers? It's going down to the wire

It appears that the question of whether the Sixers have a first-round pick in this year’s draft will go down to the wire. 

The Sixers, you may recall, traded Markelle Fultz last February for Jonathon Simmons, a 2019 second-round pick and the Thunder’s top-20 protected first-round pick this year. If the pick does not convey, it will become second-round selections in 2022 and 2023. So, what’s the status of that pick?

With two seeding games to go for Oklahoma City — Wednesday night vs. the Heat and Friday against the Clippers — the pick would indeed convey if the season ended today. The margin, however, is slim.

OKC is 43-27 and has the ninth-best record in the NBA, a half-game behind the Heat and a half-game ahead of the Pacers and Jazz. Meanwhile, the Sixers, who dealt their own lottery-protected first-rounder this season to Brooklyn in the Tobias Harris trade, are a game behind the Thunder. 

Utah only has one seeding game remaining — Thursday night vs. the Spurs. The Pacers, who fell Monday night to the Heat, wrap up seeding game play with matchups against the Rockets and, again, Miami. 

Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Sixth Man of the Year finalist Dennis Schroder and company have exceeded expectations after the Thunder traded away Paul George and Russell Westbrook last summer. Oklahoma City’s roster, however, was severely shorthanded Monday for the team’s loss to the streaking Suns. Schroder missed the game because of personal reasons, while Gilgeous-Alexander, Nerlens Noel, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams were all out with injuries. 

The team understandably seems to be placing the highest value on having players healthy when the postseason begins. Of course, the Sixers and many other teams are taking a similar approach

The Sixers, if the pick does not convey, will still own four second-round selections in the draft. It’s not considered an especially strong draft at the top, but there could be opportunities for the Sixers to add rotation pieces. Their odds of doing so will certainly increase if they have a first-round pick.

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