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Pro Basketball Hall of Famer and three-time NBA MVP Moses Malone died Sunday. He was 60.
Malone died in Norfolk, Va., of an apparent heart attack, according to reports. The Norfolk Police Department confirmed that Malone died in a Norfolk hotel room. Malone’s body was discovered when he failed to report to a celebrity golf tournament in which he was scheduled to play, ESPN.com reported.
Malone, nicknamed the “Chairman of the Boards,” was named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players and led the Philadelphia 76ers to the 1983 championship.
The 76ers released a statement from chief executive officer Scott O’Neil:
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Sixers family mourns the sudden loss of Moses Malone. It is difficult to express what his contributions to this organization — both as a friend and player — have meant to us, the city of Philadelphia and his faithful fans.
“Moses holds a special place in our hearts and will forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the most storied era in the history of Philadelphia 76ers basketball. No one person has ever conveyed more with so few words — including three of the most iconic in this city’s history. His generosity, towering personality and incomparable sense of humor will truly be missed. We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers and as we are once again reminded of the preciousness of life.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement regarding the passing of Malone:
“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.”
Malone won the NBA MVP in 1979 and 1982 with the Houston Rockets. He won his third MVP with the 76ers in 1983.
The 6-foot-10 center was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. He played for eight teams over 20 NBA seasons and led the league in rebounding six times. The 12-time All-Star averaged 20.6 points per game and 12.2 rebounds over his career. His 16,212 rebounds rank fifth on the NBA’s all-time list and his 27,409 career points rank eighth, finishing his career with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1994-95 season.
Malone was the first player to go pro right out of high school. He signed with the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association in 1974. He played the following season for the Spirits of St. Louis before moving to the Buffalo Braves after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.
Allen Iverson reacted on Twitter: “My condolences to the family and friends of Moses Malone. You will truly be missed. Rest in peace Big Mo!!!”
John Lucas tweeted: “Moses Malone, I will miss you no we all will miss you. Just left practice on your court. Well Done as always MVP.”
The Rockets wrote on Twitter: “R.I.P. to Rockets legend Moses Malone. You will be missed. #LegacyOfBigs.”