76ers leg­end Hal Greer dies. Page

The Citizens' Voice - - Sports - BY KEITH POM­PEY PHILLY.COM

The 76ers lost a leg­end. Hal Greer, 81, a Nai­smith Memo­rial Bas­ket­ball Hall of Famer and for­mer Six­ers great, died Satur­day in Phoenix af­ter bat­tling an ill­ness. The Six­ers, in a state­ment Mon­day, ex­tended their con­do­lences to the Greer fam­ily.

“Hal Greer’s tal­ent, drive, tenac­ity and un­for­get­table jump shot made him a Hall of Famer and one of the 50 great­est play­ers in NBA his­tory,” NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver said in a state­ment. “And NBA cham­pion and the 76ers’ ca­reer scor­ing leader, he also em­braced a lead­er­ship role in the racial in­te­gra­tion of bas­ket­ball at Mar­shall Univer­sity and his home state of West Vir­ginia.

“As the NBA fam­ily mourns Hal’s pass­ing, we cel­e­brate his deep and last­ing im­pact in our game.”

Greer played 15 sea­sons (1958-73) in the NBA, five with the Syra­cuse Na­tion­als and 10 with the Six­ers. He won an NBA cham­pi­onship with the Six­ers in 1967 and was a 10-time NBA All-star.

Greer was the first player to have his num­ber re­tired by the Six­ers or­ga­ni­za­tion, as his No. 15 was hon­ored in 1976.

The 76ers cel­e­brated Greer’s life and legacy when the Six­ers faced the Mi­ami Heat on Mon­day in Game 2 of the Eastern Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nals at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter.

Greer av­er­aged 19.2 points, 5.0 re­bounds and 4.0 as­sists in 1,122 games. His best sea­son was the 1967-68 cam­paign, when he av­er­aged a ca­reer-best 24.1 points.

How­ever, Greer will al­ways be re­mem­ber for play­ing a key role in the 1967 cham­pi­onship. The squad, led by Wilt Cham­ber­lain, de­throned the eight-time de­fend­ing Nba-cham­pion Bos­ton Celtics in the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals. Then the Six­ers beat the San Fran­cisco War­riors in six games in the NBA Fi­nals.

The Six­ers had an on-court cer­e­mony for mem­bers of their 1967 cham­pi­onship team dur­ing half­time of a game against the Celtics back on Dec. 3, 2016.

Greer said he knew back then that the team would be re­mem­bered as one of the all-time greats.

“The tal­ent was there,” he said be­fore the cer­e­mony, his first time in Philadel­phia in 25 years. “Of course, the big guy (Cham­ber­lain), he was al­ready there. Billy Cunningham was the best sixth-man since (Bos­ton’s) John Havlicek. We knew we had the ma­te­rial. All we had to do is get it all to­gether.

“That’s what (coach) Alex Han­num did. He got it to­gether, and we won it.”

The Six­ers av­er­aged a league-lead­ing 125.2 points. Cham­ber­lain shot 68.3 per­cent from the field and av­er­aged 24.1 points, 24.2 re­bounds, and 7.8 as­sists. Greer was the sec­ond-lead­ing scorer at 22.1, fol­lowed by Chet Walker (19.3) and Cunningham (18.5).

All four of those play­ers and Han­num went on to be­come Hall of Famers.

Back in 1980, the squad was tabbed as the best team in league his­tory dur­ing the NBA’S 35th-an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion. In 1996, Cham­ber­lain, Cunningham, and Greer were rec­og­nized as three of the league’s all-time top 50 play­ers for the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Hal Greer, left, ac­cepts a ball from Philadel­phia 76ers owner Irv Kosloff in 1971 af­ter Greer scored his 20,000th ca­reer point. Greer died Satur­day.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

76ers’ Hal Greer (15) is de­fended by Celtics’ Bill Rus­sell dur­ing a game April 17, 1968 in Bos­ton.

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