Maurice Cheeks Rumors
Barkley was asked about it on SportsCenter — is this true? And Barkley confirmed: Williams was telling the truth. Chuck says: “That’s the truth. When I got to Philadelphia, Dr. J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks—they never practiced. They’d sit on the side, on the stationary bike, eating McDonald’s. So once I had been in the league X amount of years, I adopted that philosophy. I had played 48 minutes the night before, I wasn’t going to get up the next morning and go to practice.”
It was from Feb. 26, 1997, the first matchup between the guards. Johnson, at age 30, scored 36 points with eight assists and two steals as the Suns won, 111-104, at America West Arena. Iverson, a rookie, finished with just 8 points on 3-for-15 shooting and said he cried after the game. “When I was a rookie, you know what you did to me?” Iverson said to Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento. “You know what you did. And I remember Maurice Cheeks was our coach, and he said — you know, because I was crying. Honestly. That was the only time somebody destroyed me like that. And Maurice Cheeks told me, don’t worry about it, AI, one day you’ll get somebody. Y’all go back and look at it, and that’s what he did to me. He killed me.”
“He was really quiet off the court with other people. But with us he was jovial,” Cheeks said. “He was fun. His persona was tough because he was that kind of player. But just being around his friends and his teammates he was just a fun guy.” More than anything else, Cheeks will remember Malone’s laugh. “His laugh was so infectious,” Cheeks said. “I think about it now and it just brings tears to my eyes. He laughed with such energy in his laugh and it just kind of goes through everybody.”
Cheeks described Malone, even at 60, as a health nut who worked out religiously. It made Sunday’s news all the more shocking. “He always joked anytime I called him,” Cheeks said. “No matter what, if a month went by, two months, a week, whatever, if I called him and said ‘How much you weigh, Mo?’ He’d say ‘285.’ No matter what. He didn’t have any problems. People I talked to recently, like (Sunday), they saw him and he was fine. He was healthy.”
Dawkins’ funeral and burial Wednesday will be private, for family only. But Tuesday afternoon was a public viewing and for four hours in 95-degree heat a steady stream arrived by shuttle bus or walked up the hill from the parking lot at the Catasauqua Park to pay their respects. Ex-76ers teammate Maurice Cheeks filed through the line and then sat in a pew about halfway back in the church. Former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes, a resident of Easton, stopped at the gold-colored casket, where the flamboyant Dawkins wore, of course, a bright red suit with silver pinstripes.