Founded in 1946 and originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, and one of only eight (out of 23) to survive the league's first decade.
The playoff overtime loss on March 26, 1963, would prove to be the last game for the Syracuse Nationals, as investors Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman purchased the team from Danny Biasone and moved the team to Philadelphia, filling the void left by the Warriors. Syracuse was the last of the medium-sized cities housing an NBA team, but by then it was apparent that central New York was no longer large enough to support it. The NBA thus returned to Philadelphia one year after the Warriors had left for San Francisco. A contest was held to decide on a new name for the team. The winning name, chosen by Walter Stalberg, was the "76ers". The name comes from the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Newspaper writers liked the name because it was easily shortened to "Sixers" in headlines. The shorter name was quickly accepted by the team for marketing purposes, and for most of the last half-century "76ers" and "Sixers" have been officially interchangeable.