The Full Spectrum

An oral history

Anthony Gargano, 610 WIP host/­former Spectrum usher: The Spectrum was just a different time. I wore that blue polyester suit that would go up in flames if you got near a Deadhead with a cigarette or a joint. They used to smoke up and down the concourse. It was one big fog. I was an usher at the Game Six Stanley Cup finals in ’87 when J.J. Daigneault scored the goal. That was probably the loudest I’d ever heard any building.

Bobby Jones, former Sixers forward: Denver traded me to Philadelphia [in 1978], and it was a little different — the fans, the freedom of speech. I remember Darryl Dawkins telling a ref, “I hope your momma die.” The ref looked at him and didn’t say anything. The very next play, the ref comes down again and Darryl says, “I hope your dog die.”

Julius Erving, former Sixers forward [as told to Comcast SportsNet]: The first time I walked in, I was walking in to play. I had never practiced there. I became the new addition. I remember that game, the crowd showing their appreciation. Steve Solms came out with the doctor’s bag. I didn’t know who he was or what he was bringing me.

Steve Solms, Sixers season-ticket holder: There were no guards. I just ran out there. I said, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing in the bag. I’m not crazy. I’m just so happy you’re here. Just raise the bag up and the crowd will go wild.” He looked at me, raised the bag up, and the place went absolutely nuts.

Julius Erving
: There was great intimacy, and the noise people would make — it kind of reminded me of Rucker League, where people would sit courtside and actually have their feet on the court.

Pat Williams
: The acoustics in that building were just ear-shattering. In those days, they hadn’t expanded it. They put in that upper deck and 3,000 more seats [in 1972], and got it up to about 18,000. It had a low ceiling, and the sound just reverberated. Then you had the immortal Dave Zinkoff behind the mike.

Howard Eskin: “Julius Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrving!” Zink was an actor. He would announce, “License plate number EC 765. Your lights are on, your car is ruuuunning, and your doors are locked!” Sometimes it was bogus; nobody’s car was running. It was shtick.

Pat Williams: Philadelphia is known as a great basketball town, but it has always been the fourth sport in the pecking order. Selling tickets for the 76ers was never easy, so I rolled out all my minor-league-baseball promotional tricks. Vince Papale still has a scar from wrestling a bear.

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