It’s been a rough last few months for the National Basketball Association, as several of their players have recently passed away at ages which are certainly much too young. After hearing about the death of former Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls player Jackson Vroman at just 34 years of age back in June, and then the untimely passing of former 76ers star Darryl Dawkins just a few weeks ago at the age of 58, this morning yet another untimely passing of an NBA star has been reported.
Three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and Hall of Famer, Moses Malone, passed away in his hotel room in Virginia this morning. Although the cause of death has yet to be announced, Malone was known to have been battling heart issues over the last few years. With that said, we do not know if these issues were related to his death.
The 6’10” Center is considered to be one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players, after finishing a 19 year career in the league. Malone, who was the first ever player to jump directly from high school to the pros in 1974 when he enter the ABA, played for seven different teams in the NBA, including the Philadelphia 76ers (twice), Buffalo Braves, Houston Rockets, Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs, before calling it quits following the 1994-95 season.
Malone, once said that he will always be number 1 to himself, and many believed that he deserved more credit then he seemed to give himself. As a 12-time NBA All-Star, who won a Championship with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983, and with 29,580 career points to go along with 17,834 rebounds and 1,936 assists, he will be remembered as one of the leagues all-time greats for sure.
Being that he wasn’t as tall as some of the other centers in the league, Malone used his speed and strength to overpower his competition. Another advantage he had going for him, oftentimes masked by his silent demeanor, was that he truly understood the fundamentals of the game.
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Sixers family mourns the sudden loss of Moses Malone,” stated the Philadelphia 76ers in a statement this morning. “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.”
Malone was married to Alfreda Malone in 1992, but later divorced. He is survived by one son, Michael Earl Malone who was born on March 9, 1984. The NBA and basketball fans in general will sorely miss this gentle giant and incredible athlete.