Joel Embiid just signed a four-year supermax extension with the Philadelphia 76ers worth $196 million. The deal puts him under contract through the 2026-27 NBA season with a player option in the final year. He was the runner up for the 2021 NBA MVP award and is unquestionably one of the best centers in the game today.
Five best centers in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid joins a long list of Philadelphia 76ers big men who have been key players for the franchise. Several players like Dolph Schayes and Charles Barkley won't make this list because they were traditionally listed as power forwards. However, Embiid is following on the footsteps of several NBA all-time greats who have donned the colors of the 76ers and represented the 'City of Brotherly Love'. So without further ado, let's take a look at the best 5 centers in Philadelphia 76ers' history.
#5 Dikembe Mutombo
The man famous for his 'finger wag', Dikembe Mutombo, rejected a lot of players while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. He played for the team for just one and a half year but was an All-Star for the both the seasons. He famously posted 3.1 blocks per game during the 2001 NBA Playoffs and helped Allen Iverson, the league MVP at the time, lead the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals.
He averaged a double-double during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers with 11.5 points and 11.2 rebounds along with 2.4 blocks per game.
#4 Johnny "Red" Kerr
Johnny "Red" Kerr entered the league as a 6-foot-9 center in 1954 and helped lead the Syracuse Nationals to their first title in franchise history in his rookie season. Red Kerr has always averaged double-digits in points except one season in 1965 and was a double-digit rebounder for eight solid seasons.
He was a three-time All-Star with the Nationals and moved to Philadelphia with the franchise when the Nationals converted to the 76ers. He has been with the franchise for 11 years and was one of their best centers in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
#3 Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is third on the list of Philadelphia 76ers' great centers right now but it is entirely possible that he will climb to the top. Already a four-time All-Star in his five-year career, Embiid continues to dominate the paint like no other center in the league today and his game reminds people of Shaquille O'Neal. He was the runner up in the 2021 NBA MVP race after averaging 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
He cannot seem to shake his injury bug but when healthy, there is very little doubt that he is one of the best centers in the NBA today. Embiid has led the Philadelphia 76ers to four-straight NBA playoff appearances and could be the man that gets them their first title since 1983.
#2 Moses Malone
A three-time MVP and arguably the best undrafted player in NBA history, Moses Malone is one of the best centers all time. He was the first player to go straight to professional sports after high school and paved the way for future generations of high school athletes. He joined an already talented team in the Philadelphia 76ers with Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks and several others and took them to the coveted NBA title. He earned his third league MVP during the 1983 regular season and then won the 1983 Finals MVP.
The 76ers had lost in the NBA Finals twice before Malone got there and the arrival of a two-time MVP is what they needed to finally get over the hump. Hence, Malone is heavily loved in the City of Brotherly Love even though he played just 5 seasons there. 12-time All-Star and six-time NBA rebounding leader, Moses Malone made the All-Star team for four of the five seasons he played with the Philadelphia 76ers.
#1 Wilt Chamberlain
There is only one player in the history of the NBA who has scored 100 points in a single game and averaged over 50 points in a season and that player is Wilt Chamberlain. Arguably the best center of all time, Chamberlain has NBA records that would flabbergast people and he dominated the game of basketball like very few have ever been able to do. 'The Big Dipper' started his career in the city of Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Warriors and then eventually played with the 76ers as well.
He played four seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers averaging 27.6 points and 23.9 rebounds per game. Chamberlain was a 13-time All-Star and four-time league MVP who led the NBA in scoring seven times and rebounding 11 times.