By: Julio Olmo
The Sixers, or the 76ers as I still like to call them, are dear and close to my heart. The Sixers weren’t always the Hot Mess, which they are nowadays.
Growing up in Philly, we saved most of our money from our summer jobs in order to buy tickets, just to see them play a couple of times a year.
It was not easy either.
It meant you had to use a lot of self-control not to spend the money, which is not an easy thing to do for any teenager!
The plan would be perfectly laid out in front of us by one my Brothers, Boy Genius, our Official Treasurer…
He would circle the dates and the best seats that we could afford.
Then when time arrived, off we were!
Riding the Broad Street subway to Pattison Avenue, to see live what was then The Best Show on a Basketball Court.
In order to feel The Real Fan Experience, we had to get there at least one hour before tip-off , so we could see Julius Erving, World B. Free ( Yes! That’s his legal name! ), Darryl Dawkins and the rest of the crew warming up.
The Sixers’ lay-up drill back then could put any current dunk contest to shame.
Years before Doctor J flew from the free-throw line and into NBA history books in a NBA Dunk Contest, we seen Doc make the very same move in one of those lay-up drills.
After he made the dunk, Doc smiled and winked at all us.
It seem like just a few minutes later, ushers were sending us back to our nose bleed seats.
Seats up so high that we could stand on them and touch the ceiling!
Even with all of that talent, the Sixers could not close the deal and win a title.
There are several versions how things eventually unfolded in 1983, but…I like my version best and I’m sticking to it.
The Sixers were owned back then by Harold Katz.
After his team was bounced out the playoffs again!
A piss off Harold Katz walked into an office where General Manager, Pat Williams and Sixer’s Head Coach, Billy Cunningham were meeting, and hollered.
“…Guys what in the Hell do we need to do, so we can get over this hump?”, said Harold Katz.
“…Him!”, Billy Cunningham answered as he held up a sport magazine with Moses Malone on the cover. “…You get me Moses and we’ll win the Damn title, Boss,”
And Katz walked out the office without saying another word to the two men.
A few months later, after numerous local reports about the Philadelphia Sixers courting and possibly trading for the coveted center, my telephone rings:
“…Yo! It’s me”, says Boy Genius, “…Philly signed Moses Malone, the press conference is on right now!”
“…What Channel?”, I said.
“…It’s on every channel, Bruh!”, Boy Genius said laughing.
There he was…I could not believe it, holding up a Sixers’ jersey with the number 2 on it.
Harold Katz had pulled it off and it turned out to be 1983 trendiest sports story.
“I’m only here to help, this is Julius Erving’s team!”
Moses would understate time after time that year, but his presence meant a Hell of lot more. It practically guaranteed that Doc will not be heading into retirement without a championship ring.
Harold Katz had propel the Sixers to the front of the contention line.
Eventually that sweet moment, became a bitter one for us.
After their dominating 1983 championship season, the Sixers seriously underachieve the following years and went on to become One Hit Wonders!