Over and Back: The 1967 76ers were the first greatest team ever

Curtis Harris of Pro Hoops History joins us again to discuss the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers, the record-setting team that ended the Boston Celtics’ eight-year championship streak, on the latest episode of the Over and Back Classic NBA Podcast.

We talk about Curtis’ project with the 76ers called Spirit of the Champion, commemorating the 68-win championship team that is on the short list of greatest teams in pro basketball history, and what it was like to attend the team’s 50th anniversary dinner. We look at how the team fits at a key juncture in NBA history, when the ABA and expansion began to dramatically change the sport.

Listen: Boogie Cousins, Anthony Davis and great players on bad teams

We discuss how the franchise transitioned from the Syracuse Nationals in the early 1960s, how established stars like Hal Greer and Chet Walker adjusted to Wilt Chamberlain joining the team in 1965, the brutal playoff losses to the Celtics (including “Havlicek stole the ball” in 1965), what in Chamberlain’s game changed in 1967, and how coach Alex Hannum knew how to work with superstars and bench players and everyone in between.

We also discuss the smooth shooting and rugged defense of Greer, Walker’s clutch scoring, Billy Cunningham springing all over the court, Luke Jackson’s prowess on the boards, Wali Jones’ perimeter freedom, and Larry Costello being the old man of the team. We also talk about the contributions of the tough and hilarious Dave Gambee, Matt Guokas, Bill Melchionni and Bob Weiss, and what ended up preventing the Sixers from becoming a dynasty.


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