Moses Malone, the Hall of Famer who spent 21 seasons playing professionally in the ABA and NBA, passed away today in his sleep. He was 60 years old.
Upon learning of his death, Charles Barkley, who spent his first two seasons in Philadelphia playing alongside Malone, issued this statement:
"The man I called 'Dad' passed today. Words can't explain my sadness. I will never know why a Hall of Famer took a fat, lazy kid from Auburn and treated him like a son and got him in shape and made him a player.
"Every time I saw him I called him 'Dad.' I hope he knew how much I appreciated and loved him."
Despite being named to the Hall of Fame in 2001, Malone might be the least appreciated center ever. He was a three-time MVP, won the NBA Finals MVP in 1983 while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to their most recent NBA Championship, and was a 13-time All Star. Malone also put up 29,580 points (7th all time), 17,834 rebounds (3rd), and made 9,018 free throws (2nd) during his professional career. He finished his illustrious career with ABA/NBA averages of 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds.
RIP Moses Malone.