Years Active: 1966 – 1976
Regular Seasons Stats: 770 games, 34.9 mpg
21.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.5 bpg, 45.2% FG, 73.0% FT
Playoff Stats: 54 games, 32.4 mpg
19.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, 44% FG, 68.8% FT
ABA Accolades: MVP (1973), All-ABA 1st Team (1973), ABA All-Star (1973)
NBA Accolades: 3x All-NBA 1st Team (1969-’71), All-NBA 2nd Team (1972), All-Rookie 1st Team (1966), 4x All-Star (1969-’72), NBA Champion (1967)
There are three distinct Billy Cunninghams. For the first three years of his career, he was the 6th Man for the 76ers entering games and delivering a hot dose of instant offense. For the next several years after that, he was perhaps the best forward in all of basketball. His game flourished beyond scoring and encompassed tremendous rebounding and deft passing. However, the last three years of his career were filled with frustrating injuries that eroded a unique and sparkling talent.
Before his hotshot pro career, Cunningham grew up in New York City and then headed down south to attend the University of North Carolina. In his 4 years at Chapel Hill, Cunningham averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds. At the conclusion of his senior year, 1965, he was named ACC Player of the Year. With such play, it’s unsurprising the Philadelphia 76ers made him the 5th overall pick in the 1965 Draft and back north Billy headed and was immediately injected into one of the great rivalries in the NBA.