Blazers

Looking Back at Maurice “Mo” Cheeks’ Hall of Fame Career

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Maurice “Mo” Cheeks was selected in the 2nd round with the 36th overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1978 NBA Draft. Cheeks would run point in Philadelphia alongside other notable Sixers’ Hall of Famers such as Charles Barkley, Julius Erving and Moses Malone. Not only would Cheeks have an impressive playing career, but he would also use his knowledge of the game to tutor younger talent and would carve out a lengthy coaching career for himself. Cheeks would rightfully be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, now lets take a look back on this Hall of Famers’ incredible career.

Cheeks is most notably known for his time playing point guard with the Philadelphia 76ers for 11 seasons (’78-’89). During his tenure with the 76ers, he would become a four-time NBA All-Star (’83,’86-88), a four-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (’83-’86), and an NBA Champion in 1983. Cheeks has always been regarded by his peers for his team play and defensive skills despite being only 6’1. Cheeks would wind up bouncing around from team to team after departing the 76ers in 1989. He played for the Spurs (’89-’90), Knicks (’90-’91), Hawks (’91-’92), and the Nets (’93) before retiring in 1993. However, this wasn’t the end of Cheeks’ basketball journey, or the last time we would see Cheeks as a member of the Sixers organization.

Cheeks would have a Hall of Fame playing career, but his coaching after retirement would make his resumé even more enticing to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Cheeks would start off his career coaching with none other than Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant for seven years (’94-’01). He would coach alongside hall of fame head coach Larry Brown during the Sixers’ magical run in the NBA Finals during the 2001 season. Cheeks then received the opportunity to be named the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers following the Sixers’ 2001 Finals run. Unfortunately, his tenure wouldn’t last long. He was eventually fired after a disappointing start to the 2004-2005 season. However, Cheeks just couldn’t itch that Sixers scratch.

He would become the head coach of the 76ers in 2005. During his first two seasons coaching the 76ers, however, they ended up missing the playoffs, upsetting veteran players in the locker room such as Allen Iverson and Chris Webber. Cheeks would remain with the 76ers until 2009, when he started a new role as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Once again, an opportunity arose for Cheeks, as the Detroit Pistons offered him a head coaching role in 2013. Cheeks ultimately only ended up coaching in Detroit for one year before finally returning to Oklahoma City in 2015, where Cheeks still serves as an assistant coach to this day.

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About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead. Twitter: @DNull95

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