J.D. Lafrance
Philadelphia 76ers: The Complete History DVD Review

Philadelphia 76ers: The Complete History

January 29, 2006

Director: Aldo Dicuffa,
Starring: Darryl Dawkins, Julius Irving, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the original NBA teams and, as this box set so amply illustrates, have had an impressive roster of players through their legacy, from when they were known as the Warriors, up to the present with Allen Iverson. Several documentaries and featurettes explore various aspects of the team’s legacy, its triumphs and star players.

After 16 years as the Warriors, the team left Philadelphia for San Francisco. The Syracuse Nationals were subsequently bought out by two Philly businessmen and so the 76ers were born. Wilt Chamberlain joined the team and finally stopped the Boston Celtics’ eight year championship run to win the finals. Alas, Wilt the Stilt was traded to Los Angeles and Julius Irving (a.k.a. Dr. J) came on board in 1976. He not only revitalized the team but the sport itself, becoming the Michael Jordan of his day.

Dr. J was part of what many fans believe to be the golden era of the team with a colourful cast of athletes, including Darryl Dawkins (a.k.a. Dr. Dunkenstein). The team was known for their fantastic dunking ability led by Dr. J’s aerial attack but a championship eluded them until 1983 when Moses Malone came onboard to help them sweep the Los Angeles Lakers in four games. Sadly, Dr. J retired in 1987 and was replaced by the brash Charles Barkley who was as much an entertainer as he was a consummate ballplayer. However, he failed to take the team to the finals.

1996 marked the arrival of Allen Iverson (or A.I. as he is known) who was voted rookie of the year and showed exceptional ability. However, despite this and the presence of Coach Larry Brown, they did not win a championship—coming close one year (their first in appearance in the finals in 18 years!).

There is a treasure trove of vintage footage of players like Wilt Chamberlain and Dr. J in action. Also covered are the classic, individual rivalries, like Chamberlain vs. Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell (who jokes, “I never could stop him. But I could put up some speed bumps. That’s the best I could come up with.”), and franchise ones, like the long-standing grudge matches between the Celtics and the Lakers. Back in the day, these teams played tough, grueling matches with heartbreaking defeats and exhilarating wins on both sides.

Also included are brief looks at key seasons in the team’s history, such as the 1966-67 season when they defeated the Celtics and the 1982-83 season when they won the championship. There are also mini-profiles of some of their legendary alumni, like Dr. J and his simply breathtaking style of play. Some of the shots he made seemingly defied the odds (and gravity).

Fans of the Sixers will not be disappointed by this box set. It features a nice mix of team history and vintage games that will have one waxing nostalgic for the glory days when the team was one of the greatest in the NBA.

Special Features:

The “1982 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7” allows one to watch, in its entirety, the exciting game where the Sixers defeated the Celtics in Boston to go onto the NBA finals.

The “1983 NBA Finals, Game 4” is a very exciting and highly emotional game where Dr. J and the Sixers swept the Lakers to win the championship in one of the all-time great match-ups.

The “1990 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 3” sees Barkley score an impressive 34 points to help his team defeat the Chicago Bulls.

A.I. tops Barkley in the “2001 NBA Finals, Game 1” when he scores an astounding 48 points to hand Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers an upset in overtime.

Finally, as an added bonus is the already released Iverson DVD entitled, “The Answer.”

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 80%



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