Born on March 23, 1955, Moses Malone attended high-school in Petersburg, Virginia. There he led his high-school team to 50 straight victories and back to back state championships. With the team he averaged 38 points per game throughout his high-school career. Moses was so good at basketball, that in order to play with his friends, he owuld agreed to not enter the key, an area on teh basketball court underneath the hoop. If he didn't do this, they wouldn't let him play.
Despite his mother's wishes, young Moses passed on University of Maryland when a representative from the Utah Stars of the ABA showed up at his house and spread $100 bills across the Malone kitchen table. He was selected in the third round of the 1974 ABA draft. During his rookie season with the Stars averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds a contest. Moses was voted to the 75 ABA All-Star game and named to the all rookie team. Despite the success that Moses brought, the Stars went under and Malone's rights were sold to the St. Louis Spirits on December 2, 1975. In what would be the final season of the ABA, Malone average 14.3 pts and 9.6 rebs.
August 5, 1976 saw the ABA Dispersal Draft, where all the ABA players, except those from the four teams absorbed by the NBA, could be picked by NBA teams. Moses was chosen as the 5th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. Malone would never put on a Blazers uniform as he was traded before the season started to the Buffalo Braves for a first round draft choice in the following year's draft. He played 2 games with Buffalo before being traded to the Houston Rockets for 2 first-round draft choices.
In Houston, Malone was reunited with his old coach from Utah's ABA team, Tom Nissalke. In his first season there, Malone played in all 82 games in the season and averaged a double double, 13.2 points and 13.1 rebounds. He finished the season third in rebounds behind Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Rockets managed to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games.
The 1977-78 would have been Malone's last as a student in college. It was also the season in which he'd make the first of 12 straight appearances in the All-Star game. Malone ended up missing the last quarter of the season due to an untimely stress fracture in his right foot. Even though, he still had the most offensive rebounds that season with 380, and the second best average with 15.0 per game, .7 boards behind Leonard "Truck" Robinson.
During the off season, Moses started to bulk up, and he gained 15 pounds. Contrary to normal American beliefs, this was a very good thing. Having filled out more, Malone moved over to center and continued to improve, using his additional mass to box out his opponents, especially on offense. In 78-79, his rookie season if he had gone to college, Moses pulled down 857 offensive rebounds, an all-time NBA record. On the season, he averaged 24.8 points and 18 rebounds per contest, good enough for the MVP award that season. Unfortunatly, the Rockets were swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks.
Malone put on a similar performance the following season, scoring 25.8 and nabbing 14.5 rebounds per night. Malone came in second in rebounding again this season, this time to Swen Nater. This would change in the following seasons. The 1980-81 season was the first of five consecutive seasons where Moses led the league in rebounding. He finished in second place in the scoring race with an average of 27.8 ppg, behind Adrian Dantley's 30.7. This was also the last season where Houston played as a member of the Eastern Conference, as a re-organization occurred in the off-season, moving them to the Midwest Division.
In their first season in the Midwest Division, the Rockets finished tied with the Kansas City Kings for 2nd place with a record of 40-42. The Rockets, led by Malone's high ppg (26.8) and average rebounding (14.5), Cinderella'd their way to the NBA Finals where they ran into the roadblock called the Boston Celtics, led by a second-year player named Larry Bird. Malone, realizing that he could win the championship, pushed himself to work harder. In the 81-82 season he averaged 31.1 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. Malone led the NBA in minutes, with an average of 42 minutes a game, and in offensive rebounds. For his great play, he was named to the ALL-NBA first team as well as his second MVP award. He broke the NBA record for offensive rebounds on February 11, 1982 with 21 against the Seattle Supersonics. However, Seattle would have the last laugh as the Rockets were swept by the Supersonics in the opening round of the playoffs. This would be Malone's last season in a Rocket's uniform.
After the 81-82 season, Malone was a restriced free agent. The Philadelphia 76ers sent Malone a contract for him to sign, only for the Rockets to match the offer, keeping Malone as a Rocket. Two weeks later, the Rockets traded Moses Malone to the 76ers for Caldwell Jones and a 1983 first round draft choice. So, the 76ers then consisted of Malone, a scoring and rebounding fiend, Dr. J, Julius Erving, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks AND Bobby Jones. Not too Shabby. The great players only helped Malone as he rocked the proverbial casbah that year with 24.5 ppg and 15.3 rpg. His scoring went down due to Dr. J's 21.4 ppg and Toney's 19.7. Malone was honored with his third MVP Award, making him one of the NBA's three players to win the MVP the season after being traded. Needless to say, this 76ers team took all the other teams to school, and showed them how to play B-ball. Moses got his first Championship ring with this 6ers team, who only lost one game in the post-season. In the finals, Philly swept the Los Angeles Lakers, with Moses dropping 26 ppg and 15.8 boards per game, good enough for the MVP. Say it with me, "Damn."
Throughout the 83-84 season, Malone was nagged by an aching ankle. He played his lowest number of games, 71, in 6 seasons. While he was voted to the all-star game, Malone would not play due to the ankle. He still managed to average another rediculous double double on the season. The 76ers, on the other hand, would not fare as well. While doing well during the season, the defending champions were upset in the post-season by the New Jersey Nets.
With the 84-85 season, Malone would win his 5th straight rebounding title, surpassing the record set twice by Wilt Chamberlain in the 1960s. I apologize if this sounds repetitive, but that's just a testament to this powerhouse, who averaged 13.1 captures off the glass as well as dropping an average of 24.6 points per game through the bucket. The 76ers bounced back from their early exit in the previous season, managing to fight their way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they met the commanding Celtics again. The 76ers took the contest to 5 games, but ultimately fell in the end. Malone, again, averaged a double double in the off season.
In the next season, Malone did what he does best, scoring points and grabbing rebounds. The season was progressing nicely for Philadelphia, and it looked like they would be challenging the Celtics again in the finals when Malone's season was cut short. During a contest against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 28, 1986, Malone caught an elbow in his right eye. Not only did it give Moses a shiner and some hard-core appeal, it fractured his orbital bone, causing him to miss the entire post-season as well as the last 8 games of the season! Needless to say, Philly was bummed. The Bucks would kick Philly in the ass again, this time during game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. In a change of pace, Moses Malone finished fourth in rebounding, behind Detroit's Bill Laimbeer, his teammate Charles Barkley and the Nets' Buck Williams.
Shortly after the 1985-86 season, Malone was traded, along with Terry Catledge and 2 first round daft picks to the Washington Bullets for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson. The change of scenery did not make much of a difference to Moses, as he rocked out for 24.1 points and 11.3 boards per outing. However, the Bullets were swept in the opening round by the Bad Boys of Basketball. In the following season his stats began to taper, but he still averaged a double double. Even though Malone was playing well, the result of their playoff run was the same as the previous season, a first round loss to the Detroit Pistons.
After two seasons of solid production in America's capitol, Moses was a free agent. Even though he spent 12 seasons in the league, he wasn't close to done with his career. The Atlanta Hawks picked up the double double phenom to help out Dominique Wilkins work his front-court magic. He was voted to his 12th straight All-Star game, averaging 20.2 pts and 11.8 boards a game. Even with the two towers of Nique and Moses, the Hawks failed to make it out of the opening round of the playoffs. They were soundly spanked in five games by the Bucks.
The following season was not much better. The Hawks struggle during several points in the season, and only managed a .500 record of 41-41. Moses himself did not perform to his usual, averaging 18.9 pts and 10 rebounds per matchup. This was the first season since his rookie season that Malone failed to average 20+pts and 10+ boards. The next season was more of the same. Bob Weiss was named as the Hawks new coach, and after 15 games, moved Malone to the bench, and started Jon Koncak instead. Even though Moses was the only Hawk to appear in all 82 games, he failed to tally up over 2000 minutes of playing time for the only season in his career. He would also fail to average a double double, averaging a measly 10.6 pts and 8.1 rebounds. Nonetheless, Moses still made his name known. On November 3, 1990 Moses became the all-time leader in free throws attempted, and free throws made. Later, he broke Wilt Chamberlain's record of 1,045 consecutive games without fouling out, something Shaq will never accomplish. Atlanta would manage a playoff berth, but were defeated by the Pistons in the opening round.
After the 90-91 season Malone was again a free agent. He was quickly signed by the Milwaukee Bucks and made a starter again. With the Bucks, Malone played in all 82 games in the season and bumped his averages back up to his normal production, 15.6 points and 9.1 boards. However, the Bucks were not even close to a contender as they went 31-51 in the 91-92 season, tied with the Charlotte Hornets for last place in the division.
Moses would not play very much in the following season. No strange coaching decisions here, he underwent surgery for back problems he was having. He missed all but 11 games. He averaged just over 4 points and 4 rebounds during that timespan. Milwaukee, in the middle of a rebuilding stage, finished the season 28-54.
After such a dismal season, most of the time spent recovering from back surgery, as well as playing 17 seasons in the NBA, many thought Malone would call it quits. However, the 76ers convinced Malone to play another season, and signed him as a free agent. This was mostly done to bring in an experienced player to show 7-6 rookie Shawn Bradley the finer points of playing Center. Moses, along with Assistant Coach Jeff Ruland helped Bradley improve until Shawn dislocated his knee cap and chipped a bone. Malone was no longer known for his domination, scoring a mere 5.3 points and 4.1 boards.
Elsewhere in the league, the San Antonio Spurs were looking for another big man to help out their big man, The Admiral, David Robinson. With Shawn's education put on hold, Moses was a free agent, and the Spurs wanted the big man. He signed with San Antonio, but would not play much. Besides turning 40 during the season, Moses Malone ruptured a tendon in his lower right leg and was placed on the injured list on January 12, 1996. 3 days later he underwent surgery. He would not play Basketball professionally again.
A twelve time All-Star, Moses retired from basketball the third-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer in NBA history. In 21 pro seasons he scored 29,580 points, fourth on the all-time list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving, and grabbed 17,834 rebounds, third behind Chamberlain and Bill Russell, first in free throws made (9,018) and attempted (11,864), third in games (1,455) and minutes (49,444) played and ninth in field goals made (10,277) and attempted (20,750). on October 5, 2001 he was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It almost makes you go Michael who?
G FG% 3PFG% FT% Rebs RPG Asts APG Stls Blks Pts PPG
1329 .491 .100 .769 16212 12.2 1796 1.4 1089 1733 27409 20.6
GP Min FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% TReb AST PF Stl Blk Pnts RPG APG PPG
126 4373 842 1525 .552 0 3 .000 487 774 .629 1622 140 401 110 156 2171 12.9 1.1 17.2