With Sixers' new arena planned, a look back at team's history in Wells Fargo Center

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

With new arena planned, a look back at Sixers' history in Wells Fargo Center originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Should the Sixers’ plan to begin the 2031-32 season at a new Center City arena come to fruition, Tyrese Maxey will be 30 years old when 76 Place opens.

Joel Embiid will be 37.

Clearly, there’s still tons of time for the franchise to win its first championship since 1983 before moving.

Regardless of whether that happens, the Sixers’ 26 years at the venue now known as Wells Fargo Center have been eventful. Here’s a look back at the five mini-eras of Sixers basketball there so far:

Iverson’s rise 

No. 1 pick Allen Iverson needed zero ramp-up to be immensely entertaining in the NBA. He posted 30 points and six assists in a professional debut that included an alley-oop to Jerry Stackhouse for a reverse slam, a one-handed dunk of his own, and lots of excitement for a team with 18 victories the previous season. Derrick Coleman had 25 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists that night in the arena’s opening game. Vin Baker went for 25 points and 13 boards in a Bucks win.

With a Rookie of the Year and the first of four career scoring titles to his name, Iverson made his playoff debut in the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season. Again, it’s difficult to imagine a more electric performance.

Iverson’s 10 steals in the Sixers’ Round 1, Game 3 win over the Magic remain the single-game NBA playoff record. He had 33 points, five assists, five rebounds and two blocks, too. And Larry Hughes threw down a couple of highlight dunks.

Iverson scored 37 points in the Sixers’ series-clinching Game 4 victory, which was the final game for Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly. Doc Rivers ultimately replaced Daly and earned the Coach of the Year award in his first season with Orlando.

The Answer’s prime 

Whatever the team around him looked like, Iverson was the primary Philly basketball attraction until the Sixers traded him to Denver in December of 2006.

The Sixers’ 2000-01 Eastern Conference title run is the obvious highlight from this period, although there were plenty of other memorable Iverson nights outside of that year.

Among the best: A 55-point evening against the Hornets in Game 1 of the 2003 playoffs and a career-high 60 points against the Magic in 2005. 

Limbo 

Between the 2003-04 and 2016-17 seasons, the Sixers won a single playoff series.

The finish to that series was fantastic, though. Rookie Jimmy Butler watched from the sidelines as Andre Iguodala made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to give the Sixers a 79-78 Game 6 lead over the shorthanded Bulls. Iguodala then leapt on top of the scorer’s table immediately after C.J. Watson’s narrow half-court miss completed the Sixers’ first-round upset of the East’s No. 1 seed.

In the video below, you can also spot David Adelman, chairman of the 76 Devcorp company tasked with developing the Sixers’ new arena, behind head coach Doug Collins in a blue shirt.

The Sixers forced a seventh game in their Round 2 matchup but fell in Boston to Rivers’ Celtics. The series later featured in 2019’s Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler.

The Process

After one jubilant introductory press conference and zero on-court minutes, Andrew Bynum left the Sixers. Sam Hinkie took over as general manager and hired Brett Brown as head coach.

Hinkie’s tenure has inspired much debate, to put it mildly. The bottom line is the Sixers won 47 total games over Brown’s first three seasons with players like Tony Wroten, JaKarr Sampson and Henry Sims while greatly boosting their odds of adding stars. They notched back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2017-18 and '18-19.

All about Embiid 

The player who calls himself “The Process” is the one true constant of the post-Process era.

Embiid has an active streak of five consecutive All-Star starter selections, the Sixers’ longest since Iverson.

Will he still be a Sixer in 2031? Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, two common comparisons for Embiid, both played their last games at 39 years old, though not with their longtime franchises. Dirk Nowitzki, a player Embiid has studied closely, suited up with the Mavs for the final time at 40.