Sports Throwback Thursday: 1983 Philadelphia Sixers

Today’s edition of Sports Throwback Thursday is about the 1983 Philadelphia Sixers. One of the most talented teams ever assembled.

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The 1983 Sixers had a loaded roster led by the team captain, Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones, Andrew Toney, and free agent Moses Malone. All of them went on to the Hall of Fame. The Sixers dominated all season long as they won 65 games. Moses Malone would win his third league MVP. He also made First Team All-Defense that year. Teammates Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones would also join Malone and received First Team All-Defense honors. Bobby Jones would also win NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. Erving and Malone would receive First Team All-NBA honors.

Jones was a terrific defender. Very admired and respected. While most other players depended on the occasional thrown elbow, hip-check, or grab of the uniform to gain an advantage, Jones relied on hustle and determination. Jones’ stellar defense and his other specialties, such as leadership, made him a standout sixth man.

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Opposing teams couldn’t afford to relax on the defensive end when Jones came off the bench, and they also had to work a lot harder on offense to get the ball in or even near the basket. He was a nine-time All-NBA Defense and a four-time All-Star.

In the playoffs, Moses Malone predicted that the Sixers would sweep all three rounds. His prediction was off by just one game. In the semifinals, the Sixers swept the New York Knicks. In the following round, they beat the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. In the NBA Finals, Sixers swept the defending champions, Los Angeles Lakers. Moses Malone would go on to win Finals MVP.’

Malone was a tireless and physical player who led the NBA in rebounding six times. Malone was nicknamed “Chairman of the Boards” for his rebounding. He was known for rebounding and scoring off his misses, possessing the strength, quickness, and zeal to recover the ball before his opponents. Malone died in his sleep at the age of 60, on the morning of September 13, 2015.

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Julius Erving is one of the most talented players in the history of the NBA, and one of the game’s best dunkers. He massively impacted the game. Erving helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim. In his ABA and NBA careers combined, he scored more than 30,000 points. He won league MVP in 1981 and won championships in the ABA with the New York Nets in 1974 and 1976.

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I can’t forget to mention Pat Williams. He was the general manager of the Sixers that season. Williams spent 12 seasons as the Sixers general manager. He made trades for Julius Erving and Moses Malone and drafted Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney. After his accomplishment with the Sixers, Williams would have more success with the Orlando Magic. He was responsible for the creation of the Magic. I learned from watching “30 for 30: This Magic Moment.” Orlando won draft lottery picks in 1992 and 1993, which they ended up getting Shaq and Penny Hardaway, and made the Orlando Magic a legitimate contender. Although they didn’t win championships, they went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1995 and ’96 and reached the NBA Finals in 1995.

The 1983 championship is the Sixers’ second NBA championship in their franchise history. Sixers still haven’t won since 1983. Meanwhile, another Philadelphia team won a championship 25 years after the Sixers did: The Philadelphia Phillies.

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