Hall of Fame big man Dolph Schayes passed away at the age of 87 on Thursday. Schayes had been diagnosed with terminal cancer six months ago and died when he came down with a severe infection.
Schayes played his entire 16-year career with the same franchise. The first 15 years he played for the Syracuse Nationals, who then became the Philadelphia 76ers in his 16th and final season as a player. The Sixers released a statement upon learning of his death:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dolph Schayes, a pioneer and iconic member of the Philadelphia 76ers organization and one of the greatest players ever to play the game of basketball,” said Sixers Chief Executive Officer Scott O’Neil. “Dolph was an integral part of the foundation on which this franchise was built – first in Syracuse and later in Philadelphia. He will be fondly remembered for the legacy he not only created on the court, but the way he represented the game off the court.
“On behalf of our entire organization, we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the entire Schayes family during this very difficult time.”
Schayes was a 12-time All-Star, made six All-NBA First Teams, won Rookie of the Year and won one NBA title in 1955. He was also named one of the greatest 50 players ever in 1996.
Known for revolutionizing the post position as a player who moved all around the court, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the 6’8 Schayes “one of the most influential figures in NBA history.” Schayes scored 18,438 points and grabbed 11,256 rebounds during his career with the Nationals/Sixers, which spanned from 1949-64.
Schayes was named player-coach for the 1963-64 season, and he stayed on as coach for three more years. He won Coach of the Year in 1966, leading a Sixers team that had Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham.
Schayes was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.