Every time an NFL team goes through half the season undefeated, the media starts bringing up stories of the 1972 Miami Dolphins - the only team in NFL history to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. NBA teams that get off to truly horrific starts draw comparisons to a team from the same era: the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.
That year's Sixer team won just nine of 82 games - that's a winning percentage of .110.
No other team before or since has come within a game of '73 Sixers-level futility, but this year's Charlotte Bobcats will be close. The Bobcats will go into their season finale - a home game against the New York Knicks - with a record of 7-58 and a winning percentage of .107. A loss to the Knicks - who may still be playing for playoff position - would drop that percentage to .106 - the worst in league history.
The only other teams in league history to post fewer wins in a season were the 1947-48 Providence Steamrollers of the Basketball Association of America, and the eight-win 1999 Vancouver Grizzlies. But the BAA season was only 48 games long, and the 1999 strike-shortened season was just 50 games long.
The 2011-12 season was shortened to 66 games due to last summer's NBA lockout.
The Sixers started the 1972-73 season with a 15-game losing streak, and had a then-record 20-game losing streak in the books before February. First-year coach Roy Rubin was fired after a 4-47 start; Kevin Loughery finished the season, and even led the team to a surprising 5-2 run in late February.
Philly finished the season a staggering 59 games behind first-place Boston.