In 1983, just before the start of the NBA playoffs, a Philadelphia reporter asked 76ers center Moses Malone how he thought his team would do.

“Fo' fo' fo',” Malone famously replied, indicating a four-game sweep in each of the three series the Sixers would have to play.

Malone turned out to be off by one game — the Eastern Conference finals went five — but when Philadelphia won what remains its most recent NBA championship, Malone's simple quote became part of the lore and stuck as the team's nickname to immortalize its bravado.

Thirty-one years later, the 76ers are on a different kind of streak, and the only similarity to the one Malone envisioned in '83 is that this one probably could have been predicted, too.

Following Saturday night's loss, Philadelphia (15-55) has lost 24 games in a row, the effect of employing a skeleton roster with the goals of saving salary cap space and positioning itself as well as it can for the upcoming NBA draft lottery.

Playing this poorly may be distasteful. But with a talented draft class coming in, and a draft system that encourages losing, it's a viable rebuilding strategy.

This week, the 76ers can break the NBA record of 26 consecutive losses, set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.

In honor of their futility, here is a look at long losing streaks in other sports.

Phillies, 1961


Wouldn't you know it, the longest losing streak in Major League Baseball since 1900 also was set in Philadelphia. The 1961 Phillies finished 47-107, helped by a 23-game skid that began in the second game of a doubleheader on July 28 and ended in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 20. With no regular position player older than 27, and longtime ace pitcher Robin Roberts compiling a 5.85 ERA in his last year with the team, the Phillies finished 46 games out of first place with the worst offense and the worst pitching staff in the National League.

Buccaneers, 1976-77

The Bucs debuted in 1976 and promptly lost their first 26 games to set an NFL record for futility. Tampa Bay was shut out 11 times during the skid, as quarterback Steve Spurrier wasn't exactly an offensive genius under center. The Bucs were 0-12 and two losses from a second straight winless season in 1977 when they finally got their first win on Dec. 11 vs. the 3-9 New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay finally figured it out in 1979, going 10-6 and advancing to the NFC title game in the first of three playoff berths over four seasons. Fourteen straight losing seasons followed that run, but none as bad as the first one.


The 76ers' streak is bad, but it's still only about one-ninth the length of the Beavers' NCAA men's basketball record slide that ended in 2007. Caltech, a Division III athletics program but an elite academic institution that has produced 32 Nobel Laureates, lost 207 consecutive NCAA games beginning in 1996. The skid finally ended, emphatically, on Jan. 6, 2007, with an 81-52 win against Bard College. In 2011, Caltech ended another streak, winning its first league game in 26 years to snap a conference losing skid that lasted 310 games. Can anyone on the 76ers do astrophysics?