Article by: Pete Caceci
Three days ago, the Philadelphia Sixers unveiled a new throwback jersey for the upcoming 2019-20 season. The jersey design was used during half of the 1970-71 season, back when Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham was leading the team to victory. "We thought it was really cool and fun and timely, where we could honor the past — and particularly Billy Cunningham," Sixers President Chris Heck told press following the announcement. "He's obviously a legend in Philadelphia, not only being a world-champion player, but also a world-champion coach and a Hall of Famer who has his own statue and his number retired with us at the Sixers. So it was a nice opportunity to give a tip of the hat to Billy C."
The 1970-71 season was known for redemption after losing key players like Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers in the previous offseason. The team finished 47-35, which placed them 2nd in the Atlantic Division and 3rd overall in the Eastern Conference. Despite making it into the playoffs, the team was vanquished in seven games against the Baltimore Bullets in the Conference Semifinals. Billy Cunningham proved his worth further to the team by taking the reins as Captain and improving his personal game by being elected to the All-Star game as well as being named to the All-NBA First Team.
This jersey has been in the works since 2016, when the Sixers were trying to bring back several retro-style uniforms. The “Classic” will now be included as one of five uniforms in the catalog, which will consist of the “Icon” (standard blue), the “Association” (standard white), the “Statement” (red with Sixers on the chest), and the “City Edition” (gray with white stars). A rumor has been thrown out to the public that this new jersey might in fact be worn for the season opener, which is certainly a great idea. 11 other teams will also be unveiling a throwback for the upcoming season, but to which teams are doing it is still unknown.
Being a retro fanatic, I love it when big-name teams like the Sixers take the time to bring back iconic jerseys. It allows hardcore fans to learn more about their team’s history and the players that fans back then looked up to. Rarely do teams in general take part in a project like this, as it may be awhile before we get to see another classic look. Judging by the way that the players seem to enjoy it, and how the fans have been up in arms in support, this jersey may in fact stay for years to come.