Moses Eugene Malone is widely considered as of the greatest NBA centers in history. He was born on March 23, 1955, in Petersburg, Virginia. He attended Petersburg High School and was set to attend college at University of Maryland to play basketball. However, he was recruited by the American Basketball Association to play for the Utah Stars in 1974, so he skipped college and went straight to play for the ABA. He was the first player to become professional straight after high school. He was 19 years old, and stood 6 feet and 10 inches tall. He played forward for a while before his lanky physique became more muscular, and then started playing as a center. After playing for the Utah Stars, Malone joined another team called “Spirits of St. Louis”. He had an impressive record, with an average of 17.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. In 1976, the NBA and ABA merged, but Malone’s team Spirits of St. Louis was one of the only teams that chose not to join the NBA. He was later officially selected by the Portland Trailblazers.
Before playing even one regular season with the Trailblazers, Malone was transferred to the Buffalo Braves. This did not last long either, and just after two games, he was transferred to the Houston Rockets. His record with the Rockets was impressive and he helped them to reach the Eastern Conference finals, which his team lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. An unfortunate injury caused him to miss the last 23 games of his second season with the Rockets but his record of total offensive rebounds was still the highest in that season. The 1978-79 season was one of Malone’s best in his entire career. He averaged 24.8 points that season as well as 17.6 rebounds, which was the highest of his career. He was awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award that season. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team as well as the NBA All-Star Game.
The following season, Moses Malone continued his high scoring streak and ranked fifth in the league in points scored. The Houston Rockets made it to the playoffs that year but lost to the Atlanta Hawks, in which Malone scored 49 points and 41 rebounds. He was again selected to the NBA All-Star Team and named the Most Valuable Player. He led the NBA’s as the highest rebounder for 5 consecutive seasons. In 1982, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He was an immediate success in his new team, helping them to win the NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. The 76ers had a 67-15 win-loss record that year, for which Malone was a major contributing factor. He was named the MVP for a third time after his performance that season.
The 76ers performance soon declined, and in 1986, Malone was traded to the Washington Bullets. He spent a few years there, before moving to the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent in the 1988-89 season. However, he was plagued by injuries, and began to spend more time on the bench as his stats fell to career lows. In the 1990-91 season, he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, before returning to play another season with the 76ers. By this time, he was the only remaining player in the NBA who had initially played for ABA, and this was his 18th season in the NBA and 20th in professional basketball. His last season in the NBA was the 1994-95 season, which he spent with the San Antonio Spurs. Moses Malone was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, and had a total of 12 NBA All-Star appearances.