When I saw the 76ers were retiring a number this season, I figured a hard-up team was just grasping at straws to drawn fans for a night.
Then I learned whom they were honoring.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team will retire the late Dolph Schayes’ number “4” in a special halftime ceremony on Saturday, January 23, 2016, when the Sixers host the Boston Celtics.
In addition to its new place in the rafters, the number “4” will continue to be represented on the court by Sixers forward Nerlens Noel.
“I am honored to continue wearing the number four as a way to recognize one of the most dominant big men ever to take the court,” said Noel. “I take the responsibility of wearing the Sixers uniform very seriously and will continue representing the organization – and now the legacy of Mr. Schayes – to the best of my ability.”
How had the 76ers not already retired Schayes’ number? He spent his entire 15-year career with the franchise (first with the Syracuse Nationals then when the team moved to Philadelphia). He made NBA’s 50 Greatest list in 1996. One of the NBA’s first stars, Schayes reached six All-NBA first teams, six All-NBA second teams and 12 All-Star teams.
He absolutely deserves this honor – and probably long ago.
Schayes died last month. It’s a shame he won’t be around for this ceremony.