A 76ers championship set-up by the team acquiring a dominating center?
Wilt Chamberlain’s return to Philadelphia didn’t just improve the team’s win total. It led to the franchise’s first ever NBA championship.
Up until this point, the Boston Celtics had won eight straight titles from 1959-1966.
New head coach Alex Hannum had been the last coach to defeat the Celtics in the playoffs, when he was head coach of the St. Louis Hawks during the 1958 Finals.
He would also be the next head coach to defeat them.
After being told to pass more, Chamberlain, the league’s MVP, racked up 7.8 assists per game, third best in the league, while still averaging 24.1 points a night. This was, however, the first time in eight seasons that he didn’t win the scoring title.
His free-throw shooting didn’t help, either.
His 24.2 rebounds per game, however, led the league, while the 76ers team average of 125.2 points per game also found itself as the league’s best.
Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham averaged 19.3 and 18.5 points per game, respectively.
Luke Jackson managed 8.9 rebounds per game.
Hal Greer posted lines of 22.1 points in the regular season and 27.7 assists game in the playoffs.
Wali Jones and Larry Costello, before he was lost for the season, served as key reserves while Matt Guokas and Billy Melchionni saw time as rookies.
The team won 45 of its first 49 games, had a 28-2 record at home and finished with a record of 68-13.
They defeated the Cincinnati Royals in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before beating the Boston Celtics in five games to reach the finals, where they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the first championship in franchise history.
In 1980, as part of the NBA’s 35th anniversary, the 1966-1967 Sixers squad was voted as the best team in league history.
While their ranking among the league’s best teams is debatable, one aspect of their success is certain.
The 1966-1967 76ers team provided fans with one of the most memorable moments in franchise history.