Throwback Thursday: Best teams of the 1960s


VIDEO: Wilt Chamberlain became a dominant NBA force in the 1960s

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball.

Today’s Topic: Best Teams of 1960s

This week we continue our Throwback Thursday: Best Teams of Each Decade series by looking at the best teams to play in the 1960s.

Make sure to check back next week for our look at the best teams of the 1970s!

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: TBT: Best Teams of 1960s

Which of these teams do you think would do best in today’s NBA? Leave your comments below!

8 Comments

  1. NBAGuru says:

    Ehhh…none of the above? Teams from the 60s would have an impossibly hard time playing in the modern NBA. The de-facto racial quotas (which plagued the NBA until the late 60s), the presence of the ABA, underdeveloped guard play, and the archaic form of basketball being played (barely organized basketball, by modern standards) all resulted in inferior basketball. These teams would be crushed by modern teams.

    I do think if you put together an all-star team of players from the 60s and introduced them to modern coaching, you’d have a great team on your hands. It’s just that the average player in the 60s couldn’t make it in the modern NBA. For instance, how many guys on those great Celtics teams could play in the NBA today? I count Russell, Sam Jones, Havlicek. That’s about it. If you’re feeling charitable, maybe Heinsohn and Bailey Howell could cut it. Maybe.

    • PhilG says:

      NBAGuru is stupid. The teams of the 60s were better coached in the fundamentals of playing basketball. They played a more physical brand of ball then they do now. The Wilt led 76ers, especially their championship team, would have demoralized any of these modern teams that play today. The only teams comparable to Wilt’s would be the 70-80s Lakers, the 80s Celtics, and the 90s Bulls. All of these teams were similarly built and would have rode over todays teams with ease.
      This thing about “modern coaching” is a myth. The nba is not a coaching league in the sense that players have to be grounded in the fundamentals along with the physical maturity to be able to contribute on a daily basis.
      Don’t discount the oldies. The most spirited and entertaining basketball I’ve seen has long past. What you get today you can go down to your local YMCA and get for free.

    • old_leprechaun says:

      The reverse is also somewhat true. Many of today’s players would have a very difficult time adjusting to the rules and equipment of the 60’s. Those leather balls were not nearly as aerodynamic. They tended to float a bit and any bit of side spin on the ball and it would curve a bit. The rigid backboard/basket combo made “shooter’s touch” bounces much less frequent as well. Modern ball handlers and slashers would get called for “palming” or “traveling” 99% of the time they touched the ball.

      A LOT has changed since that time, skill and athleticism are the least of those.

  2. Mason says:

    Block by wilt was a goal tend. Ball was going down

  3. Akeem says:

    The game has certainly evolved. Each new generation learns from the collective past, which makes the game evolve. Of course today’s players are better. Those guys from the 60’s had little to learn from.

    • avshalom says:

      could not agree more

      One cannot compare the greats of an era.
      take Jesse Owens 100 meter run in 1936 Olympics.

      His result was a little above 10sec..

      would he win against today’s athletes? NO.

      But, things have evolved – resulting in higher professionalism.
      1. new shoes
      2. better running fields with improved friction and bouncing
      3. better support facilities: healthcare support, medication, gym etc.
      4. much much more competition and money involved

      Still, no one can take Jesse’s greatness. People have grown on his legacy to became better athletes.
      Same thing with NBA, ABA oldies.

  4. avshalom says:

    One cannot compare the greats of an era.
    take Jesse Owens 100 meter run in 1936 Olympics.

    His result was a little above 10sec..

    would he win against today’s athletes? NO.

    But, things have evolved – resulting in higher professionalism.
    1. new shoes
    2. better running fields with improved friction and bouncing
    3. better support facilities: healthcare support, medication, gym etc.
    4. much much more competition and money involved

    Still, no one can take Jesse’s greatness. People have grown on his legacy to became better athletes.
    Same thing with NBA, ABA oldies.

  5. Mike says:

    That video was a hoot. Thanks for sharing. Love seeing Wilt palm that ball with the QB like pump fakes. The way he contorted to get those layups was great.