Moses Malone passed away on Sunday September 13th at the age of 60. If you were watching professional basketball in the mid-seventies through the eighties to the mid- nineties you had to see one of the first players to make the leap from high school to the professional ranks. He started his career in the America Basketball Association with the Utah Stars as a 6’ 10” center straight out of Petersburg, Virginia. He was given a scholarship for the University of Maryland but was drafted by the Utah Stars in the third round.
The Utah Stars folded shop after the 1974/75 season so Malone signed on with the St. Louis Spirits for the next two years. He had a good stat line with 17.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. Not bad for a twenty year old kid playing in the ABA in its final heydays. The ABA merged with the NBA for the 1976 season and Malone ended up on Portland but was traded to Buffalo to make room for Maurice Lucas. That venture didn’t last long before he was traded again to the Houston Rockets for two first round draft choices.
In Houston, Malone was finally able to get playing time and soon thereafter developed into a ferocious rebounder. He remarkably broke the NBA record for most offensive rebounds in a season with a mark of 437. That was to be his trend throughout his career by always leading the league in offensive rebounding and being one of the top overall rebounders. Let’s not forget that he also could score with an average of 20 points per game. He would go on to win the Most Valuable Player trophies with the Rockets during the 1978-79 and 1981-82 seasons.
Malone went on to become a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 1982-83 seasons, signing a six year deal. He was now on a powerful team with him, Julius Erving, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones and also Darryl Dawkins, who just passed away a few weeks ago. They won the NBA crown that year and Malone was MVP of the league as well. His second consecutive with two different teams, a feat only done once before by Barry Bonds in baseball.
Malone never had a championship season after that but went on to play for Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, the 76ers again, then finishing his career with the San Antonio Spurs. Here is a list of his Basketball Achievements:
NBA Champion (1983)
NBA Finals MVP (1983)
NBA MVP (1979, 1982, 1983)
12 time NBA All Star
ABA All Star
4 x All-NBA First Team
4 x All NBA Second Team
NBA All Defensive First Team
NBA All Defensive Second Team
6 x NBA Rebounding Leader
NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
ABA All-Time Team
Moses Malone was an all-around great player who made others him around better. Even though he played on only one championship team, he played the majority of his time in era of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics, the Knicks and the Bulls. Those teams dominated the 80’s and 90’s but he was involved in a lot of playoff battles. He will always be known as the king of the rebound, most importantly the offensive rebound. He had an incredibly long career for a large man and was very productive to the end. Salute Moses Malone!
Photo 1 – www.complex.com
Photo 2- Bleacherreport.com