Moses Malone, who was the first basketball player to turn pro right out of high school, has died. The NBA Hall of Famer was 60-years-old. CBS Sports is reporting that Malone died in his sleep in Virginia.
Malone started his career in the American Basketball Association with the Utah Stars in 1974. He also played with the Spirits of St. Louis, before the ABA and the National Basketball Association merged in 1976. Malone’s strange journey to the NBA still had a few twists and turns, as he was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers but never played for them. He was traded to the Buffalo Braves, where he would play in just two games before getting traded once again, this time to the Houston Rockets.
It was in Houston where Moses would begin to flourish. Malone started a string of 12 straight All-Star game appearances in 1977. He would win two Most Valuable Player Awards in his five years in Houston. Malone would leave the Rockets in 1982 as he was again traded, this time to the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first season with Philadelphia, Malone teamed with Julius Erving and Andrew Toney and brought home another MVP Award and an NBA Championship.
Malone would remain a man on the move, playing for five teams — the Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, 76ers, and San Antonio Spurs — in his last nine years in the league. Moses averaged 20.3 points a game and 12.3 rebounds throughout his career. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
On Sunday, the 76ers posted this statement on Malone’s death on their team page.
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Sixers family mourns the sudden loss of Moses Malone. It is difficult to express what his contributions to this organization — both as a friend and player — have meant to us, the city of Philadelphia and his faithful fans. Moses holds a special place in our hearts and will forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the most storied era in the history of Philadelphia 76ers basketball. No one person has ever conveyed more with so few words — including three of the most iconic in this city’s history. His generosity, towering personality and incomparable sense of humor will truly be missed. We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers and as we are once again reminded of the preciousness of life.”
Some fellow NBA greats shared their thought on Malone’s passing on Twitter.
Moses Malone is the second 76ers star player to pass away within the last month. Darryl Dawkins died on August 28 at the age of 58.
[Image by Brian Bahr / Getty Images]