1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers season

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1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers season
Third NBA Championship
Head coach Billy Cunningham
General manager Pat Williams
Arena The Spectrum
Record 65–17 (.793)
Place Division: 1st (Atlantic)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Champions

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television PRISM Network, WPHL
Radio WFLN
< 1981–82 1983–84 >

The 1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers season was the 37th season of the franchise (going back to their days as the Syracuse Nationals) and their 20th season in Philadelphia.

Harold Katz bought the 76ers in 1982. On his watch, the final piece of the championship puzzle was completed before the 1982–83 season when they acquired free-agent center Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets in a sign-and-trade for Caldwell Jones.[1] Led by Hall of Famer Julius Erving and All-Stars Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, and Bobby Jones they dominated the regular season, winning 65 games in what is still the second most winning year in franchise history.

Erving led as the team captain and was named the NBA All Star Game MVP, while Malone was named league MVP, and when reporters asked how the playoffs would run, he answered, "four, four, four"—in other words, predicting that the Sixers would sweep all three rounds to win the title, with the minimum 12 games. Malone, speaking in a non-rhotic accent, pronounced the boast "fo', fo', fo'."

However, the Sixers backed up Malone's boast. They made a mockery of the Eastern Conference playoffs, first sweeping the New York Knicks and then beating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. The Sixers went on to win their third NBA championship (and second in Philadelphia) with a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, who had defeated them the season before. Malone was named the playoffs' MVP. The Sixers did not quite fulfill Malone's prediction; nonetheless, their 12–1 playoff record still ranks as the second-best in league history after the 2001 Lakers, who went 15–1 en route to the NBA title coincidentally beating the 76ers in the finals. The Philadelphia-based group Pieces of a Dream had a minor hit in 1983 with the R&B song "Fo-Fi-Fo", which title was prompted by Malone's quip.

Draft picks[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 22 Mark McNamara C/F  United States California
2 36 J.J. Anderson SF  United States Bradley
2 45 Russ Schoene PF  United States Tennessee-Chattanooga
3 68 Dale Solomon  United States Virginia Polytech
4 91 Bruce Atkins  United States Duquesne
5 114 Donald Mason  United States Frenso State
6 137 Kevin Boyle  United States Iowa
7 160 Keith Hilliard  United States Missouri State
8 183 Donald Seals  United States Jackson State
9 204 George Melton  United States Cheyney (PA)
10 224 Randy Burkert  United States Drexel


Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Moses Malone Clemon Johnson Mark McNamara
PF Marc Iavaroni Reggie Johnson Earl Cureton
SF Julius Erving Bobby Jones Sam Quinn
SG Andrew Toney Clint Richardson
PG Maurice Cheeks Franklin Edwards

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Philadelphia 76ers 65 17 .793 35–6 30–11 15–9
x-Boston Celtics 56 26 .683 9 33–8 23–18 14–10
x-New Jersey Nets 49 33 .598 16 30–11 19–22 11–13
x-New York Knicks 44 38 .537 21 26–15 18–23 10–14
Washington Bullets 42 40 .512 23 27–14 15–26 10–14

# Eastern Conference
1 z-Philadelphia 76ers 65 17 .793
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 51 31 .622 14
3 x-Boston Celtics 56 26 .683 9
4 x-New Jersey Nets 49 33 .598 16
5 x-New York Knicks 44 38 .537 21
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 43 39 .524 22
7 Washington Bullets 42 40 .512 23
8 Detroit Pistons 37 45 .451 28
9 Chicago Bulls 28 54 .341 37
10 Cleveland Cavaliers 23 59 .280 42
11 Indiana Pacers 20 62 .244 45

Game Log[edit]

1982–83 Game Log
Total: 65–17 (Home: 35–6 ; Road: 30–11)

1982–83 Schedule


East First Round[edit]

The 76ers had a first round bye.

East Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) New York Knicks: 76ers win series 4–0

East Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (2) Milwaukee Bucks: 76ers win series 4–1

  • Game 1 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Philadelphia 111, Milwaukee 109 (OT)
  • Game 2 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Philadelphia 87, Milwaukee 81
  • Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee: Philadelphia 104, Milwaukee 96
  • Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee: Milwaukee 100, Philadelphia 94
  • Game 5 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Philadelphia 115, Milwaukee 103

NBA Finals[edit]

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (1) Los Angeles Lakers: 76ers win series 4–0

  • Game 1 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Philadelphia 113, Los Angeles 107
  • Game 2 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia: Philadelphia 103, Los Angeles 93
  • Game 3 @ The Forum, Los Angeles: Philadelphia 111, Los Angeles 94
  • Game 4 @ The Forum, Los Angeles: Philadelphia 115, Los Angeles 108

Player statistics[edit]

Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average


NBA finals[edit]

The 1983 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1982–83 season.

The 76ers went on to capture their second NBA championship as they swept the New York Knicks, and proceeded to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in five games. They finally finished it off with a four game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, who had defeated them the season before, making this the only NBA championship not to be won by either the Lakers or the Boston Celtics from 1980–1988.

Said head coach Billy Cunningham, "The difference from last year was Moses." Malone was named MVP of the 1983 Finals, as well as league MVP for the third time in his career. The 76ers completed one of the most dominating playoff runs in league history with a 12-1 mark after league and NBA Finals MVP Moses promised "Fo', fo', fo" (as in "four, four, four" - four wins to sweep round 1, four wins to sweep round 2, etc.), but it actually wound up as "Fo', fi', fo." (four, five, four). The 76ers were also led by Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, and Bobby Jones.

The 1983 NBA Finals was the last to end before June 1. This championship is especially noted because it would be the last major sports championship for the city of Philadelphia until the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.[2] At the time, no other city with all four professional sports teams had a championship drought last as long as that from 1983-2008 (25 Years).[3] When the Flyers played for the 2010 Stanley Cup, The Ottawa Citizen reported that the main reason for that lengthy championship drought was because the only years the city's teams played for championships during that time were years presidents were inaugurated.[4] The city's teams had lost championships during such years, beginning with the 76ers themselves in 1977.[4] The exceptions were the Phillies in 1983 and the Flyers in 1987.[4]

Following the 1983 NBA Finals, a video documentary called "That Championship Feeling" recaps the NBA Playoff action that year. Dick Stockton narrated the video, and Irene Cara's 1983 hit single "What A Feeling" is the official theme song for the video documentary. For the first time, NBA Entertainment used videotape instead of film for all the on-court and off-court footage.

Awards, Records, and Legacy[edit]

At the time, their 65-17 regular season record ranked as the fifth greatest season in NBA history. Previously, only the 1972 Lakers (69-13), the 1967 Sixers (68-13), the 1971 Bucks (66-16), and the 1973 Celtics (who lost in that years Conference Finals; 68-14), exceeded this total. Their .8105 winning percentage, combined regular season and post season (77-18) in 1983, has been topped since by only 3 teams, the 1986 Celtics (.820), the 1996 Bulls (.870), and the 1997 Bulls (.832).

In fact, after 66 regular season games, their record stood at 57-9 (only 2 games behind the 1996 Chicago Bulls 59-7, in their record 72 win season for comparison). Possessing an exceptionally talented roster, and having a brilliant coach in Billy Cunningham, the 1982-1983 Philadelphia 76ers were one of the very best teams in NBA history.



  1. ^ "Malone Goes to 76ers for Caldwell Jones". New York Times. September 16, 1982. 
  2. ^ Sheridan, Phil (October 30, 2008). "WORLD CHAMPS!; 28 years later, Phillies again are baseball's best". Philadeplhia Inquirer. p. A1. After 25 years of drought...Philadelphia has its championship...the Phillies really are World Series champions. 
  3. ^ Levin, Bob (October 21, 2008). "Phillified". The Globe and Mail. p. S1. 
  4. ^ a b c Warren, Ken (June 2, 2010). "Two cities that could use a CUP". Ottawa Citizen. p. B3.