One of basketball’s brightest stars in the 1970s and 1980s, Moses Malone, has passed away. The centre was a three-time most valuable player and won a title with Philadelphia in a stellar career.
Moses Malone, regularly ranked as one of the fifty best players in NBA history, died in his sleep sometime in the night between September 11 and 12. He was sixty years old.
Malone started his professional career in 1974, going straight from high school to the alternative ABA league, where he spent two seasons. He was one of the first players to skip college entirely, although he had a scholarship to the University of Maryland.
In 1976, after the ABA folded, Malone moved to the Houston Rockets in the NBA. Although relatively short for a center at only 2.08 meters, Malone compensated with his sizeable bulk. He usually played at around 118 kilograms. In his first season with the team, he led the Rockets to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers.
By 1978, Malone made the first of what would be 12 consecutive All-Star Game appearances and was voted the league’s most valuable player for the first of three times. In 1979, he averaged 25.8 points and 14.5 rebounds, but the Rockets couldn’t get by the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.
Malone was consistently among the NBA’s leaders in minutes, points and rebounds, but a title ring eluded him. In 1981, the Rockets made the NBA finals but again came up short against the Celtics.
In 1983, Malone moved to the 76ers, joining Julius Dr. J Erving and winning his first and only NBA championship. Philadelphia head coach Billy Cunningham credited Malone for making the difference in a team that had previously always missed out on top honors.
Malone would continute to play until 1995, spenging time in Washington, Atlanta, Milwaukee and San Antonio. He finished his career with 27,409 points and an average of 12.2 rebounds per game.