Reliving Moses Malone’s Career as a Sixer


On January 11th, the Philadelphia 76ers announced they would be retiring Hall of Famer and NBA Champion Moses Malone‘s number. The Sixers will hold a special halftime ceremony for the three-time MVP when they host the Denver Nuggets on February 8th.

To say it’s been a long time coming for Malone to be honored by the Sixers would be an understatement. The February 8th festivities not only include a jersey retirement ceremony, but a statue outside Wells Fargo Center. He joins Mo Cheeks, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving as the only players in Sixers history to be honored with a statue.

Let’s take a look back at the “Chairman of the boards” 76ers’ career.

Fo’ Fo’ Fo’

Malone’s career as a 76er began on September 2nd, 1982. Malone was a restricted free agent coming off a first round exit with the Houston Rockets. The Sixers were coming off a disappointing playoff performance after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the NBA Finals. Laker big man and NBA all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, dominated the Sixers’ Darryl Dawkins during the NBA Finals.

Malone famously proclaimed the Sixers would sweep every team they met in the playoffs that following season. Although the Sixers didn’t exactly go “fo’ fo’ fo'” (losing once to the Milwaukee Bucks), they did, however, sweep the Lakers during the NBA Finals. The acquisition proved to be fruitful as the “Chairman of the boards” out rebounded KAJ 72-30 during that series. Malone would be honored as the Finals MVP that season as the Sixers captured their 3rd NBA Championship alongside notable Hall of Famers in Dr. J, Mo Cheeks and Bobby Jones.


During the ’83-’84 season, Malone continued to dominate despite only playing 71 games. He led the league in rebounding (13.4/game). Malone was selected for the all-star game that year, but was unable to play due to an ailing ankle injury. The Sixers would ultimately lose in a shocking upset to the New Jersey Nets in the first round.

During the 1984 NBA Draft, the Sixers drafted future hall of famer and franchise star Charles Barkley, ready to hand the franchise keys over to the newly acquired Auburn Tiger. Malone served as a mentor to Barkley and encouraged him to get into better shape, as Barkley showed up to training camp weighing a staggering 300 pounds!

In the ’84-’85 season, Malone led the league in rebounding once again, corralling 13.1 per contest. He received another all-star nod and dropped a career high 51 points against the Detroit Pistons on November 14th. The Sixers would reach the Eastern Conference Finals but ultimately lose to the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics in five.

Malone averaged 23.8 points and 11.8 rebounds during the ’85-’86 season despite missing some time due to an orbital fracture in his right eye. Unfortunately, Malone would miss the postseason and the Sixers fell to the Bucks in seven. Terry Catledge, two first-round draft picks, and Malone would ultimately be traded in the offseason to the Washington Bullets in exchange for Jeff Ruland and Clifford T. Robinson.


Malone would make his well-received return to the Sixers via free agency. He served as a backup and mentor to newly drafted rookie Shawn Bradley (yuck). Malone played just 55 games that season, averaging 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Hall of Fame

Malone was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility in 2001. The tenacious center would have a hall of fame list of accolades such as an NBA championship, NBA Finals MVP, 3x NBA MVP, and 12x NBA All-Star.

In Memoriam

On the morning of September 13th, 2015, Malone passed away in his sleep. He was 60 years old. Malone was one of the most respected players amongst his peers and was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.


About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead.

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