Friday Flashback:  1983 NBA Finals – Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This one was pretty sweet because I had been a fan of Julius Erving (Dr. J) for many years and in 1983, the Philadelphia 76ers finally put all the pieces together including Moses Malone at Center to finally dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers and win the NBA Championship.

This was the third meeting in four years in the NBA finals between these two teams.  The Lakers had won the first two meetings in 1980 and 1982.  In those series, the 76ers had no counter for Lakers’ center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.   In the offseason, the 76ers acquired Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets and he paid off for the Sixers as they won 65 games in the regular season and stormed through the NBA playoffs sweeping the New York Knicks (4-0) and dominating the Milwuakee Bucks (4-1) to advance to the final against the Lakers.  Malone was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the series.  

The Sixers swept the Lakers in the finals 113-107, 103-93, 111-94 and 115-108.  With 59 seconds left in Game 4, Erving completed a three-point play to give the Sixers the lead late in the game and claim his first NBA title.  

The 1983 championship was the second NBA title for the Sixers.  They have not won a title since then and have only appeared in one final in 2001.

The 1983 finals was the last to end within the month of May. 

This was the only championship not to be won by either the Celtics or Lakers between 1980-1988.

The song “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters was the celebration theme song for the Sixers’ title win.

Erving played four more seasons with the Sixers and retired in 1987.  Malone was traded in 1986 and played for five other teams, including another stint with the Sixers, until he retired in 1995 and was the last active former American Basketball Association (ABA) player.  He died at the age of 60 in 2015.

Billy Cunningham coached the Sixers for two more seasons.  He retired in 1985 with a record of 454-196.  His teams never failed to make the playoffs during his coaching career.

Leave a Reply