PHILADELPIA (AP) — Moses Malone, a three-time NBA MVP and one of basketball’s most ferocious rebounders, died Sunday. He was 60.
Det. Jeffrey Scott of the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department confirmed that Malone died in a Norfolk hotel room. He said there was no indication of foul play. Malone’s body was discovered when he failed to report to a celebrity golf tournament in which he was scheduled to play.
Malone was part of the 76ers’ 1983 NBA championship team, and the club said he will “forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the most storied era in the history of Philadelphia 76ers basketball.”
A 6-foot-10 center who made the leap right from high school to the pros, Malone is the NBA’s career leader in offensive rebounds and led the league in rebounds per game for five straight seasons from 1980-85.
Malone was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and attended the induction ceremonies for the year’s class in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend before returning to his native Virginia.
Drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1974, Malone went on to play for eight NBA clubs and was the league’s MVP in 1979 and 1982 while playing for the Houston Rockets.
“Everyone in the organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Moses Malone,” Rockets owners Leslie Alexander said. “Moses was a true gentleman and one of the great Rockets — and greatest NBA players — of all time. He will be forever missed. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.”
Malone joined the 76ers the following season and added his third MVP award while leading the 76ers to that championship after making his famed “Fo’, Fo’, Fo’,” prediction that the Sixers would win their playoff series in four-game sweeps.
“No one person has ever conveyed more with so few words — including three of the most iconic in this city’s history,” 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil said. “His generosity, towering personality and incomparable sense of humor will truly be missed.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement regarding the passing:
“We are stunned and deeply saddened by the passing of Hall of Famer Moses Malone, an NBA legend gone far too soon. Known to his legions of fans as the ‘Chairman of the Boards,’ Moses competed with intensity every time he stepped on the court. With three MVPs and an NBA championship, he was among the most dominant centers ever to play the game and one of the best players in the history of the NBA and the ABA.
Even more than his prodigious talent, we will miss his friendship, his generosity, his exuberant personality, and the extraordinary work ethic he brought to the game throughout his 21-year pro career. Our thoughts are with Moses’ family and friends during this difficult time.”