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When the Warriors were from Philadelphia: Wilt, championships, Hall of Famers and the 100-point game

The Golden State Warriors are competing against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA title, a much better feat than anything the #LOLSixers have done lately.

As the Warriors contend for a championship, general manager Sam Hinkie is busy preparing for another NBA Draft in which he will do his best to finagle another second-round draft pick that he will later package with a first round draft pick for a three second-round draft picks in 2018 and fiber-optic cable that will allow him to do high-frequency NBA trading. It’s not quite as fun.

And to think, the Warriors could be ours. They once were ours. The team originated in Philadelphia in 1946 and then, a start-up before their time, moved to San Francisco in 1962. Even though the Warriors were good, attendance was apparently declining, and owner Eddie Gottlieb sold the team to California investors.

They left us plenty of good memories, though, including NBA titles, Hall of Famers and one of the greatest achievements in scoring history. Here’s a rundown of the Philadelphia Warriors.

Where they played

Philadelphia Arena: Long before The Wells Fargo Center, basketball was played at 45th and Market in University City. The Warriors played here and occasionally in Hershey, at the Hershey Sports Arena.

The stars

Paul Arizin 1950-62: Arizin was a Philadelphia native who attended Villanova. When he reached the NBA, he helped transform the game by becoming one of the first players to successfully utilize the jump shot. Arizin averaged 22.8 points per game for his career and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Wilt Chamberlain, 1959-62: Hardly needs any descriptions. Chamberlain was one of the all-time great players, forcing the NCAA and NBA to change its rules and scoring and rebounding at unprecedented levels. When the Warriors left for San Francisco, he left for just a couple of years before returning to Philadelphia and the Sixers in 1965.

Joe Fulks, 1946-54: Fulks was called the “Babe Ruth of Basketball,” so you know he must’ve been good. Like Arizin, he was a scoring pioneer and to an even larger degree. Fulks, a Hall of Famer, scored 63 points during a game in 1949. This was incredible. At the time, entire teams were lucky to score so much. When Fulks retired he was the second-leading scorer in the history of the NBA.

Tom Gola, 1955-62: Gola is better known for his college career with LaSalle (he’s the NCAA’s all-time leading rebounder) but was also successful with the Warriors, making the All Star team with them three years in a row.

Neil Johnston, 1951-59: At 6-8, Johnston was one of the NBA’s first great big men. He averaged just over 19 points and 11 rebounds for his career and made the All Star team six times.

The famous coach

Eddie Gottlieb, 1947-1955: Gottlieb was the Warriors’ first coach and later its owner until he sold the team away to San Francisco. He wasn’t just a good coach, he helped steer the business-side of the NBA in its early days, helping lead the merger of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League to become the NBA we know today.

The highlights

1946-47 championship: This was the first season of the NBA — then known as the Basketball Association of America — and the Warriors won the title. Behind Fulks, who led the league in scoring that year, the Warriors finished second in the Eastern Conference and then beat the St. Louis Bombers, New York Knicks (take that, New York!) and Chicago Stags to win the championship. Against the Stags, they won easily, 4-1. So the first major professional basketball championship belongs to Philadelphia.

1955-56 championship: After Fulks retired, the Warriors jumped right back to the top of the league with the core of Gola, Johnston and Arizin. They beat the Fort Wayne Pistons 4-1 to win the title. Of the team’s 11 players, seven came from Philadelphia colleges.

The 100 point game: Maybe the best-known non-playoff game in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game, a record that will probably never be broken. The Warriors won, in Hershey, 169-147 against the Knicks (take that, New York!).

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