“Reverently bathed in spotlights, its concrete walkways and stair steps kept tidy, its prim interior virtually untouched, the Spectrum looks as if it could reopen tomorrow, even though it played host to its last event six months ago and its future is doomed.” – Dave Caldwell for the New York Times,
Question: Where did Christian Laettner hit the game-winning shot against Kentucky in 1992?
The answer? The Spectrum in Philadelphia.
Known as “America’s Showplace,” the Spectrum opened on September 30, 1967. It was the longtime home of the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA (1967-‘96) and the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL (1967-‘96). The Spectrum hosted four NBA Finals (1977, 1980, 1982, and 1983), six Stanley Cup Finals, and two Final Fours (1976, 1981).
“Since we were a playoff team every year, we never had a losing record, we did have a home-court advantage,” said Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, prior to the stadium’s demolition. “The building and the acceptance of our locker room, all played a significant role in terms of making us feel at home … We loved playing home games during that time. We’d look at our schedule. You’d look at the schedule and you’d see an opportunity where you could possibly run the table. It was disappointing when you didn’t. It could really determine your destiny.”
Major non-sporting events held at Spectrum were concerts by a pantheon of musical geniuses: Elvis, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Luciano Pavarotti, The Who, Bob Dylan, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Bon Jovi, KISS, Aerosmith, and the Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead played at the Spectrum an unbelievable 53 times.
So famous for it’s rock-n-roll chops, the Spectrum was hailed in a Billboard Magazine ad in 1974 as the “rock capital of the world” and “The House that Rock Built.”
And as much as sports fans will link Spectrum to the Philadelphia 76ers, Flyers’ fans held a special connection to the place. The Flyers won the Stanley Cup on May 19, 1974 at the Spectrum. “What we’re seeing is a reverence for a living, breathing organism,” said hockey commentator Bill Clement. “And believe me, the organism was hostile to anybody who tried to invade it.” H&A