Moses Malone, 76ers Great, Has Died
Moses Malone, MVP of the 76ers last championship team in 1983, has died at age 60.
“The 6-foot-10 center, nicknamed the “Chairman of the Boards,” averaged a double-double while playing for eight teams over 20 NBA seasons and led the league in rebounding six times,” ESPN reports. “The 12-time All-Star averaged 20.6 points per game and 12.2 rebounds over his career.”
The '83 Sixers might have been the best team ever. And Moses Malone's arrival was the trigger for it all. Can't believe this …
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) September 13, 2015
Most offensive rebounds in NBA history – It's Moses Malone by a WIDE margin: pic.twitter.com/hIFB6Tgiop
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) September 13, 2015
— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) September 13, 2015
My condolences to the family and friends of Moses Malone. You will truly be missed. Rest in peace Big Mo!!!
— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) September 13, 2015
In 2013, the Daily News summed up Malone’s importance to the franchise:
THE SIXERS won the 1982-83 championship on Sept. 15, 1982. The “NBA Guide,” on Page 365, will tell you that the Sixers won Game 4 of the NBA Finals on May 31, 1983, sweeping ther Lakers in four games.
But ask anyone who was a Sixers fan in 1982 and they will tell you the day the trade for Moses Malone became official, the Sixers winning the NBA title was just a formality.
NBA.com reminds us that Malone made the jump from high school to the pros back when that was relatively rare.
At the age of 19, when he was a lean and lanky 6-10 manchild, Malone had no trouble making the jump from Petersburg (Va.) High School to the Utah Stars of the ABA. Playing forward until he filled out enough to take the pounding at center, Malone was an immediate success in the ABA, averaging over 18 points and 14 rebounds as a rookie.
After two seasons in the ABA he went on to become a dominant NBA player for well over a decade, leading the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981 and the Philadelphia 76ers to the 1983 NBA championship.
The Classical remembers Malone’s famous “fo, fo, fo” prediction those 76ers would sweep the playoffs:
Malone’s prediction, translated, was a call for the sweep of all sweeps: a prediction that the Sixers would not lose a single playoff game en route to a championship, and during the NBA’s ballyhooed Golden Era, no less. Moses wasn’t known as an arrogant sort, more of the type to shoot it to you straight, so his repeated not-quite-a-word was bond, almost as tight as the 76ers themselves.
“I think it rallied the Sixers. They totally got behind it because they thought they were that good. That was their personae,” says longtime Sports Illustrated NBA writer Jack McCallum. There was no fear of Mo’s exhortation becoming the dreaded—really kind of ridiculous when you think about it—“bulletin board material” for the likes of Ed Sherod, Truck Robinson, and Paul Westphal.
The Morning Call profiled Malone in 2001:
That’s the one-word scouting report on Hall of Famer Moses Malone, who was honored Sunday night by the Sixers.
Once Moses got down low on the block, he was hard to stop.
Even though he really couldn’t jump much, Moses had an uncanny ability to savage the offensive boards, often taking two or three shots before making a basket.
“The guy was so smart,” current Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo noted. “He used to get the ball and bat it around the rim five times before it would go in. That is how he won all of those rebounding titles.”
“In 1996, Malone was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players,” USA Today points out. “He was named NBA MVP in 1978-79, 1981-82 and 1982-83.”