Both the 1986 Boston Celtics and 1967 Philadelphia 76ers are underrated for vastly different reasons. The 1967 Philadelphia squad suffers from the same negative connotation of the 65 Boston Celtic team; that they simply wouldn’t be able to compete with more modern athletes in the NBA. As I’ve said before, that’s simply motivated reasoning which is bordering on complete ignorance. Wilt Chamberlain was an incredible athlete, arguably one of the best in the history of the league (and yes, that includes now), and his game would transcend into ANY era. Larry Bird also cops a lot of the same crap. People think of him as a slow, un-athletic, one-dimensional, forward that would get chewed up and spat out by forwards of the 90’s and today.
The 1967 Philadelphia 76ers team blitzed the NBA, winning a then-record 68 games and claiming their first championship. They thoroughly stopped the Celtics championship run at 8 titles as they beat them 4-1 in the conference finals. The 76ers were led by Wilt, who despite setting all kinds of untouchable scoring records, was often criticised for his inability to lead a team to the championship. This line of thinking gave birth to the first really great rivalry and debate; who’s better, Wilt or Russell? On one hand, you had Chamberlain who was playing unbelievably individually and posting great numbers, but doing very little to incorporate his teammates into the offense and would end up having no choice but to do it himself. This would inevitably lead to his teams consistently losing big games and series. This would change when Wilt would adopt a more Russell-like mentality of involving and setting up his teammates, which would ironically give more credence to the Russell side of the initial argument.