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76ers to retire Dolph Schayes' No. 4; Nerlens Noel will keep in honor

The Philadelphia 76ers announced plans Monday to retire Dolph Schayes' No. 4 later this month, and they said that Nerlens Noel will still wear the number in honor of the late Hall of Famer.

The retirement ceremony will take place on Saturday, Jan. 23, when the 76ers play the Boston Celtics.

Schayes' number will be the ninth retired in franchise history, joining Allen Iverson (No. 3), Julius Erving (6), Maurice Cheeks (10), Wilt Chamberlain (13), Hal Greer (15), Bobby Jones (24), Billy Cunningham (32) and Charles Barkley (34).

Schayes, a 12-time All-Star who refined the big man's role in the infancy of the National Basketball Association, died last month at the age of 87. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer six months earlier.

"Dolph Schayes is a legend of the game and we are proud to rightfully raise his number to the rafters alongside his fellow Sixers greats," 76ers chief executive officer Scott O'Neil said in a statement. "It is heartwarming to know that, prior to his passing, Dolph was humbled and excited to learn of our plans to retire his number this season. We will miss his presence dearly on January 23, but look forward to honoring his life and career as one of the pioneers of the Philadelphia 76ers organization."

He played the majority of his career with the Syracuse Nationals before they moved to Philadelphia and became the 76ers. He ranks third on the franchise's all-time scoring list with 18,438 points.

After winning NBA rookie of the year honors in 1949, Schayes led the Nationals in scoring for 12 straight seasons and helped lead the team to its lone NBA title in 1955, becoming the first player in NBA history to score 15,000 points.

When the Nationals moved to Philadelphia in 1963, Schayes was named player-coach of the 76ers. He retired as a player after the season, but stayed on as coach for three more seasons and was named NBA coach of the year in 1966 of a team that included Chamberlain, Greer and Cunningham.

Noel said in the statement that he is "honored" to wear the No. 4 "to recognize one of the most dominant big men ever to take the court."

"I take the responsibility of wearing the Sixers uniform very seriously and will continue representing the organization -- and now the legacy of Mr. Schayes -- to the best of my ability."

Schayes' son, Danny, who played in the NBA for 18 seasons, said his family was "completely humbled by the graciousness" of the 76ers and also gave his endorsement to Noel continuing to wear the number.

"My father's jersey represents not only his great basketball career, but also the dedication and love of his family, teammates and friends with whom he was blessed throughout a very happy life," Danny Schayes said in a statement.

"Nerlens Noel is a blossoming star in this league and the Schayes family is honored that he will continue to wear the number four."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.