NBA 75 Series: #17 Moses Malone by DJ Hamilton


   Coming in at #17 of my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time is the greatest offensive rebounder in NBA history who was a terror on the glass, and was the catalyst of the 1983 champion Philadelphia Sixers team that swept the Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led Los Angeles Lakers, Moses Malone. Malone was born on March 23rd, 1955, in Petersburg, Virginia, and passed away on September 13th, 2015, at the age of 60. Malone was an only child who was taken care of by his mother Mary who dropped out of school after the fifth grade.

His mother would kick Malone’s father out when he was just two years old due to his alcohol abuse. Malone would attend Petersburg High School where he would star for his school’s basketball team, Crimson Wave. He would become an absolute force, helping the Crimson Wave go undefeated his last two seasons there where they would win  back-to-back Virginia state championships, as well as 50 games in the process.

Malone would have colleges flocking all over for his services, eventually signing a letter of intent to play for the University of Maryland under head coach Lefty Driesell. Little did colleges know of what was to come.

Malone would end up spurning college in 1974  for the new ABA (American Basketball Association) league, getting selected by the Utah Stars to become the first high school player to jump directly to the pros, paving the way for future stars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, and Kevin Garnett, just to name a few. As a rookie Malone would be named an All-Star and help lead his team in the playoffs where he put up averages of 22.7 points, 17.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game in a first round loss to the Denver Nuggets. 

Malone would also play for the St. Louis Spirits, and a very brief stint for the Buffalo Braves before joining the Houston Rockets in 1976 at the age of 21 due to the NBA-ABA merger. He would become a double-double machine, perennial All-Star & All-NBA, and win two MVPs in the process. As stated in the beginning, Malone would become by far the best offensive rebounder of all time (6.731) having the nickname “Chairman of the Boards” along with being a top 10 scorer all time on the all time scoring list, ranking 9th with 27,409 points. He is an NBA Champion (1983), Finals MVP (1983), a three-time MVP (1979, 1982, 1983), 12-time NBA All-Star, eight-time All-NBA,led the league in rebounds six times, and two-time all defense. 

He and Julius Erving formed one of the most dynamic duos in NBA history, along with other Hall of Famers Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones helping lead the 83 Sixers to an NBA title over the Lakers after famously stating before the Playoffs they would go “Fo, Fo, Fo” sweeping every opponent to the title. He fell just one game short in loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that postseason. Malone is now severely underrated when media pundits talk about the greats of the game and the greatest centers of all time but make no mistake he was among the best to ever play this game and his place here is justified.