Moses Malone Rumors
But the greater part of Malone’s legacy might be the way his death raised awareness of the health problems faced by former players, especially big men. Scarcely two weeks before he passed another retired Sixers center, the irrepressible Darryl Dawkins, died. The year before, yet another, Caldwell Jones, succumbed. They died of heart attacks, at ages 58 and 64, respectively. Even before that, the NBA Players Association had plans in the works to conduct health screenings for retired players. But Joe Rogowski, the NBPA’s Director of Sports Medicine and Research, told The Athletic that the passing of guys like Malone “just sort of expedited it a little bit more.”
Six times per year over the last three years, the NBPA has staged these screenings around the country at teams’ arenas and practice facilities. They are free of charge, and Rogowski said more than 500 ex-players have participated. According to an ESPN.com report, these examinations have revealed that 20 percent of those older than 60 had diabetes, more than 30 percent were obese and more than 35 percent of those between 40 and 59 had high blood pressure. They have also saved at least one life. Hall of Fame guard Tiny Archibald — a contemporary of Malone, Jones and Dawkins — was found in 2016 to be in need of a heart transplant, which he has since received.
Only eight players in NBA history have ever won three MVP awards but Malone is rarely revered or discussed in the same way as Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Malone remains the all-time leader in offensive rebounds for his career, a season and a game. And he still ranks fifth all-time with 16,212 rebounds and 10th in scoring with 27,409 points. His contributions to the game will always be recognized by the record book, if not future generations of fans. “He probably doesn’t get mentioned as much as he should, but most of the people that know, know. He’s one of those guys,” said Cheeks, who wasn’t bothered by the delayed appreciation. “They do it in the time that they felt deemed necessary. But anytime is the right time. He’ll be up there with the rest of us and it will be a welcome sight.”
Here we are — almost 36 years after that title, and a little more than three years since Malone departed — and the 76ers are going all out to honor Big Mo, adding his statue Friday morning to the monument row outside the team’s practice facility in Camden, N.J. They will unveil a unique banner at halftime of the game against the Denver Nuggets that includes a special request Malone made before passing. “I’m so sorry that he’s not there to enjoy the moment,” Cunningham said. “Because I’m sure he’d be very touched by this. But I’m sure that somewhere up there, the fans are going to let him know, they might not have seen him play, but they’ve heard enough about him and know what his legacy is. And he’s one of the greatest players, not only centers, but greatest players to ever play in the NBA.”
The Philadelphia 76ers are paying tribute to the late Moses Malone, a three-time NBA MVP and one of basketball’s most ferocious rebounders, with a sculpture and a jersey retirement ceremony. The Sixers unveiled the sculpture Friday morning at their practice facility in New Jersey. The team will retire Malone’s No. 2 jersey in a halftime ceremony at Friday night’s game against Denver. The banner they’ll raise will have the names of all Malone’s teammates stitched into it.