Basketball legend Moses Malone died on Sunday, according to the Philadelphia 76ers, CNN reports. He was 60. The team’s statement did not indicate the cause of his death, but called it “sudden.” Malone was the first player in the modern era to go pro right after high school, when he was drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1974.
The 12-time All-Star and three-time Most Valuable Player played for nine teams over his 20-year career, most notably for the Houston Rockets and the 76ers, which he led to a championship in 1983.
“It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Sixers family mourns the sudden loss of Moses Malone,” Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil said Sunday. “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.”
The 6-foot-10-inch big man earned the moniker “Chairman of the Boards” for his rebounding prowess, leading the league six times before retiring as a member of the San Antonio Spurs during the 1994-95 season. He also made more free throws than any other player in history.
The NBA named Malone one of its 50 best players of all time in 1996 and enshrined him in the Hall of Fame in 2001.