Twenty years ago, the Philadelphia 76ers were in the midst of their best season of the 21st century, one that would culminate with their most reason division title, and their last appearance in the NBA Finals. Philly was of course led that season by the league’s Most Valuable Player, Allen Iverson.
For one night that spring though – 20 years ago Tuesday – another Sixers legend took the spotlight at what was then called the First Union Center in Philadelphia.
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On March 30, 2001, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had his number 34 retired by the organization.
“Sir Charles” was selected fifth overall by the Sixers in the 1984 NBA Draft and played the first eight seasons of his career with the club.
Barkley Widely Viewed as One of Greatest Players in Sixers History
Since retiring from the Association following the 1999-2000 campaign, Barkley has largely stayed directly in the spotlight. He has worked as an analyst for TNT since 2000 and is a part of the “Inside the NBA” crew alongside Ernie Johnson Jr., Kenny “The Jet” Smith”, and Shaquille O’Neal.
For his work, he has won four Sports Emmy Awards.
During his playing career though, Barkley put together elite numbers and racked up numerous accolades including the 1993 NBA MVP award and 11 All-Star appearances. Though he spent only half of his career with the 76ers, he still ranks among the franchise leaders in many categories.
Barkley is third in all-time win shares at 106.1, ranked behind Dolph Schayes’ 142.4 and Julius Erving’s 106.2. He is first on the all-time Sixers list in both offensive and defensive rebounds with 2,688 and 4,391 respectively.
Schayes and Red Kerr both rank ahead of Barkley in total rebounds, but offensive and defensive rebounds were not kept track in their playing days. Barkley also ranks first in two-point field goal percentage at 61.4 %, offensive rating at 121.3 and other categories as well.
Despite his various escapades and controversies over the decades, Barkley is generally beloved in the City of Brotherly Love.
Which Player Has the Next Sixers Jersey Hung in the Rafters?
Since Barkley’s jersey was hung up to the rafters, there have been three more Philly legends whose number has claimed immortality to bring the total amount to 10. Iverson’s number three uniform was retired in 2014, Schayes’ number four was posthumously retired in 2016, just three months after his death, and Moses Malone’s number two was hung up posthumously as well, in 2019.
Additionally, the organization retired the microphone of the iconic public address announcer Dave Zinkoff in 1986, shortly after his passing.
There are a handful of worthy candidates to stake claim as the next Philadelphia 76ers jersey to be retired, but one active player could have the best shot.
37-year-old Andre Iguodala could become another “AI” to receive the honor after his playing days come to an end. “Iggy” was drafted ninth overall – and wore number nine – by the team in 2004 and spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philadelphia.
He is currently ninth on the franchise’s all-time in win shares list at 61.2 and received his lone All-Star nod in his final season with the Sixers in 2012. He led the team in win shares during five of his seasons with the Sixers and led the team to the Eastern Conference playoffs five times as well.
Iguodala was incredibly durable during his Philly days, suiting up for all 82 regular season games in five of his first six NBA seasons and playing no fewer than 62 contests in a year during his stint with his initial squad. Iguodala is currently in his second season with the Miami Heat.