Julius Erving

The 6 best on-court fights involving the Sixers

The 6 best on-court fights involving the Sixers

Joel Embiid added another chapter to the Sixers' history of on-court fights Wednesday night as he scrapped with fellow All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns. Here’s a look at five of our other favorite on-court fights involving the 76ers.

5. Larry Bird vs Marc Iavaroni – 1983

This scrap took place in a preseason game. A. PRESEASON. GAME. Bird took exception to Iavaroni boxing out on a free throw. The two came together, were separated and eventually Bird made his way back to Iavaroni and landed a punch. Legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, then the team’s top basketball executive stormed the court and had to be separated (for his own good) from Moses Malone. Auerbach was later fined $2,500 for his action. A reasonable price to pay to not be punched by Moses Malone.

4. Sedale Threatt vs Danny Ainge – 1986

The Sixers/Celtics rivalry takes center stage again. Before he annoyed everyone as the Celtics president, Ainge annoyed everyone as a Celtics player. On this night, Sedale Threatt decided he had enough of Ainge’s act and delivered an open-hand shot to Ainge’s face. To Ainge’s credit, he stumbled but did not fall.

3. Charles Barkley vs Bill Laimbeer – 1990

This was the Thump and Bump Sixers vs the Bad Boys Pistons. In the waning seconds, notorious instigator Bill Laimbeer shoved a ball in his former teammate Rick Mahorn’s face. Charles Barkley, never one to back down from a skirmish, jumped in and the punches flew. Benches emptied. In the end, fines were handed out to both teams, and to more than a dozen players. Laimbeer and Barkley had to pay $20,000 fines and each sat out one game. Oh yeah, the Sixers won the game that night to clinch the Atlantic Division championship. 

2. Maurice Lucas vs Darryl Dawkins – 1977

The Sixres were on their way to taking a 2-0 series lead in the 1977 NBA Finals against the Trail Blazers when Darryl Dawkins and Bobby Gross tangled for a rebound. Dawkins tossed Gross to the floor. After some finger pointing by Gross, Dawkins went to deliver a haymaker and actually punched his own teammate Doug Collins. The Blazers’ Maurice Lucas came to Gross’ aid. Lucas and Dawkins squared off at center court. Fans actually stormed the court at the Spectrum. Order was eventually restored and the Blazers credit that moment as the turning point of the series. They went on to win the next four games and claim their first and only NBA title.

1. Julius Erving vs Larry Bird – 1984

This one takes top spot because of the star power involved. In November of 1984, Dr. J and Larry Bird were two of the top three recognizable stars in the NBA. This fight started after Bird attempted to bully his way into the post and picked up an offensive foul. As the teams went to the other end of the floor, Bird makes a beeline for Dr. J. A rookie forward by the name of Charles Barkley grabs Bird before he can get to Erving. Barkley then basically holds Bird up so that the Doctor can deliver the ultimate house call with three punches directly to the face. Remarkably, neither player was suspended. Gotta love the ‘80s.  

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The Greatest Sixer of All-Time: Julius Erving

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The Greatest Sixer of All-Time: Julius Erving

Without question, Julius Erving is the best Sixer of all-time.

When you hear people talk about the GOAT (seemingly, every hour on sports radio), the conversation always goes back to Michael Jordan. But, don’t you know who MJ was imitating? Julius Erving was MJ before MJ. And as LeBron James once said, there is no MJ without Dr. J and there is no LBJ without either. 

Erving is often overlooked because he played five seasons in the ABA (where he won two titles with New York) before merging with the NBA. But even after that, Dr. J went on to play all 11 NBA seasons with the Sixers (where he was an All-Star each season), an NBA MVP in 1981 and brought a championship to the City of Brotherly Love in 1983 after a four-game sweep of Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers.

What Dr. J was able to do on the court for his 6-foot-6 size changed the entire mold of your typical small forward position. From passing and ball-handling to rebounding and shot blocking, there was not much that Dr. J couldn’t do on the court.

So next time that GOAT debate starts, don’t forget you’ve got a Sixer who should be in that conversation.

Be sure to tune into tonight's matchup of two GOATs as Tom Brady and the Patriots square off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday Night Football on NBC.

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Emotional Maurice Cheeks inducted to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

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Emotional Maurice Cheeks inducted to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Maurice Cheeks’ Hall of Fame call was cause for a double celebration.

“Thank you to the committee for thinking enough of my contribution to the sport to select me for such an honor. I can not think of a better way to celebrate 40 years in the NBA on my 62nd birthday,” Cheeks said on Friday night when he was officially inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame just hours ahead of his birthday.

Cheeks, a second-round pick of the Sixers in 1978, finally went into the HOF as part of the 13-member 2018 class. Over his 15-year NBA career (11 with the Sixers), the point guard was a four-time All-Star, four-time All-Defensive first team selection and a key member of the 76ers’ 1982-83 championship team. Cheeks, who averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 assists per game for his career, ranks fifth in league history in steals and 13th in assists.

“This is amazing,” Cheeks said. “… First, I want to congratulate all of the other inductees. I’m honored to be in the same class with you. Being in the basketball Hall of Fame is something I never dreamed of. It’s kind of surreal. I am humbled beyond belief.”

Always humble and cool, Cheeks let his emotions flow on Friday night when discussing the individuals that helped him reach this milestone. That was particularly the case when discussing his Hall of Fame presenters, Billy Cunningham and Julius Erving.

“He was the type of coach I never wanted to let down, but I did one time,” Cheeks said of Cunningham. “Early in my career, I was having a terrible first half against the Knicks. I had gotten the ball stolen twice and right before halftime, it was stolen again. Nobody wants that, right? 

“I went to the locker room, sat with my head down. A couple players came by and said, ‘You’ll be alright. You’ll be better the second half.’ Then Billy walks by, stands by my locker. I think he’s going to say some encouraging words. Instead he says, “I’ve got to find me another flipping point guard.’ Those words stunned me, but that was the last time he ever had to say anything like that about me.

“Playing for the Sixers and the city of Philadelphia was another moment beyond anything I could have dreamed. I had some amazing teammates. Can you imagine as a rookie the first person you see when you walk into the gym was Dr. J? I remember almost turning around and walking out. But he greeted me with open arms, taught me how to be a pro, how as a player to conduct myself. That meant a lot to me. Thank you, Doc.”

Cheeks finally broke down when talking about his mother, Marjorie, and how she raised a family full of boys on the South Side of Chicago.

“My very first coach, Mama Cheeks,” he said in tears while being comforted by Erving. “Every night when the street lights came on the whole block would hear you call out our names one by one: ‘Moses, Marvin, Maurice, Mark, you better get up here!’ And she said it with so much venom. This is one of the many ways you were protecting us. You are amazing and I am grateful for who you are. I am humbled because of you. Most importantly, I still have my hair because of you. 

“This is great, this is great. There is nothing you wouldn’t do for us. I feel the same way about you. I love you so, so much.”

You can watch Cheeks' full induction speech right here.

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