Today in Philly Sports History: Sixers Begin 20-Win Losing Streak, 1973

Today in Philly Sports History: Sixers Begin 20-Win Losing Streak, 1973
January 9, 2010, 4:00 am

One of the most seemingly untouchable records in Philly Sports history is somewhat under fire this NBA season--that, of course, of the nine-win season, still the absolute benchmark for single-season futility in professional basketball. It took a lot of consistent effort for the team to rack up 73 losses in 82 games, but the boys were persistent, and started one of their most inspired pushes on January 9th, 1973 with a loss to the Chicago Bulls--the first of twenty straight the team would rack up before all was said and done.

Just the day before, Sports Illustrated had released an article on the Liberty Ballers with the headline "The Spirit of the Sixers is Willing, But the Flesh is Week." The article, which projects the Sixers to go 7-75 for the season (disturbingly close to accurate), describes the Sixers' basic managerial technique as "Garbage In, Garbage Out" and includes possibly the most textbook example of a coach (Sixers clipboard-holder Roy Rubin) throwing his team under the bus in basketball history: ""Why can't someone else take some of the blame?," [Rubin] moans. "I'm not the one who misses the shots, who throws the ball away, who
won't box out. They're killing me. They're trying to take my livelihood
away from me."" Yeah, it was that bad.

The Nets are 3-32 for the season, and are losing tonight at the time of writing--a pace which certainly threatens the Sixers' all-time supremacy. But as forward Leroy Ellis puts it--or would put it were he ever asked--"Call us when they get to 4-58."

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