The Philadelphia 76ers were first created in 1939 in Syracuse, NY and were known as the Syracuse Nationals. They are the oldest franchise that are currently part of the NBA. It was not until 1946 that the Nats joined a league, becoming a member of the National Basketball League. Three years later, the NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA, and the Nationals followed suit. Syracuse made it to the first NBA finals, but lost to the Minneapolis Lakers in the inaugural series. Hall of Famer Dolph Shayes led the team to back to back title appearances in 1954 and 1955, winning the ladder for the first championship in franchise history.
In 1963, the team moved to Philadelphia which the Warriors had left vacant a year prior. They were renamed as the 76ers in reference to the Declaration of Independence that was signed in 1776 in the city.
The new team found quick success after trading for center Wilt Chamberlain in 1965. Wilt along with Hal Greer guided Philly to an NBA record 68 wins and second NBA Championship in 1967. Chamberlain abruptly requested a trade after head coach Alex Hunnum left the team, ending a short but successful stint for the all-time great.
After a few abysmal seasons, the 76ers acquired and signed Julius Erving in 1976, 200 years after their namesake document was signed and just as important to the city of Philadelphia. The eleven-year Dr. J era was not only successful but historic. He led the team to four NBA finals, losing the first to the Portland Trail Blazers and the next two to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 76ers would get their revenge in the 1982 season, defeating the Lakers after losing only one game throughout the playoffs behind a ferocious attack of Erving and Moses Malone.
The end of Dr. J's career in Philly meant a new superstar could take over the spotlight, a void filled by Charles Barkley. Known for his tough play and tenacious rebounding, Barkley finished his career 4th and 2nd in points and rebounds for the franchise despite being undersized and only spending eight years with the team
His postseason shortcomings can be played on a lack of a supporting cast, but the 76ers were never a viable threat during his tenure
The point guard with never-before-seen handles was handed the reins after the team's longest absence from the playoffs, and immediately dominated his opponents. AI brought the team to the 2001 championship series, where they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers. This loss was not on Iverson however, as the surrounding players on this team are considered one of the worst role groups in finals history and Iverson had to carry the team all the way.
After more mediocre seasons, the 76ers and their general manager Sam Hinkie began the rebuilding technique which they coined "The Process". The plan was to trade all capital for draft picks and essentially tank their way into a contender. While the plan took longer than expected and included Hinkie being fired before the results were available to be analyzed, the core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have the potential to dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come.