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.
Schayes, a 12-time NBA All-Star, Hall of Fame inductee and member of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, passed away on December 10, 2015 at the age of 87. Schayes was one of the league’s most dynamic players for the Syracuse Nationals from 1949-63 and led the team to an NBA Championship in 1955, when he averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds during the playoff run. He accompanied the franchise in its relocation to Philadelphia, where he spent the 1963-64 season as player/coach. Additionally, at the time of his retirement, he was the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (18,438 points).
“Dolph Schayes is a legend of the game and we are proud to rightfully raise his number to the rafters alongside his fellow Sixers greats,” said Sixers Chief Executive Officer Scott O’Neil. “It is heartwarming to know that, prior to his passing, Dolph was humbled and excited to learn of our plans to retire his number this season. We will miss his presence dearly on January 23, but look forward to honoring his life and career as one of the pioneers of the Philadelphia 76ers organization.”
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.”
“Our family is completely humbled by the graciousness of the Philadelphia 76ers organization. My father’s jersey represents not only his great basketball career, but also the dedication and love of his family, teammates and friends with whom he was blessed throughout a very happy life,” said Schayes’ son, Danny, who played 18 seasons in the NBA. “Nerlens Noel is a blossoming star in this league and the Schayes family is honored that he will continue to wear the number four.”
Schayes was originally drafted by both the New York Knicks (fourth overall) in the 1948 Basketball Association of America draft and the Syracuse Nationals of the NBL (the merger forming the NBA happened the following season), after a four-year collegiate career at NYU. A six-time First-Team All-NBA selection, Schayes held career averages of 18.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in the professional ranks.
He coached the Sixers for two additional seasons following his retirement and netted NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1966. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.
Schayes will join Allen Iverson (3), Julius Erving (6), Maurice Cheeks (10), Wilt Chamberlain (13), Hal Greer (15), Bobby Jones (24), Billy Cunningham (32) and Charles Barkley (34) as players with their numbers retired, along with legendary public address announcer Dave Zinkoff (microphone).