Moses Malone, one of the most dynamic centers in NBA history, passed away at the age of 60 this morning.
Malone played in the NBA and ABA for 19 seasons with 9 different teams. He was a three-time NBA MVP and was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Malone, commonly nicknamed, “Chairman of the Boards,” was a running mate with Julius Erving and helped the Philadelphia 76ers win the NBA title in 1983, where he was named Finals MVP.
Prior to joining Dr. J in Philadelphia, Malone became one of the first basketball players drafted straight out of high school when the Utah Stars selected him in 1974. After the ABA-NBA merger, he was selected by the Buffalo Braves before being traded to the Houston Rockets.
During his time with the Rockets, Malone would win two of his three league MVP awards, the first coming in 1978 when he averaged 24.8 points per game and a career high 17.8 rebounds per game. In 1981, his last season with the Rockets, Malone would once again dominate the boards, averaging 14.1 rebounds per game and also averaging 31.1 points per game, trailing only George Gervin that year for the league’s scoring title en route to his second league MVP.
In 1982 Malone was traded to the 76ers, whose team included Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones. Despite the firepower the 76ers possessed, Malone still lead the league in rebounds and after finishing fifth in scoring, Malone won his second consecutive MVP award. Moses Malone is the only NBA player to win back to back MVP titles with different teams and one of only two athletes to accomplish this feat in the four major American sports.
Malone will forever be known for his physicality inside the paint as well as his smooth midrange game. With his length and physique, he dominated the paint in the mid 70’s and 80’s and set the tone for future stars like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Tim Duncan.
Malone could sum up his whole career when quoted as saying, “I never thought I would lead the NBA in rebounding, but I got a lot of help from my teammates. They did a lot of missing.”
Some of Moses Malone’s highlights can be viewed here.
Rest in peace, Moses Malone.