Moses Malone: A Man Among Men

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Moses Malone had the right name. He was a mover and a shaker. Literally. He moved lesser men out-of-the-way to get his points and rebounds just like the Biblical Moses moved Pharaoh and the Egyptians out-of-the-way to get his people out of the muck and mire of making bricks without being given straw. Both men moved Heaven and earth to lead their people out of bondage. And for sports fans, losing is bondage.

Just like his namesake, Malone was a front-runner and forerunner and a groundbreaker and an earth shaker. And he certainly was a great basketball player. The first to jump from high school to the pros, Moses did it so that Kobe and LeBron and Kevin Garnett and countless others could follow.

Moses was a man among men. He was an All-Star and a League MVP and a Hall of Famer to boot. He averaged a double-double in points and rebounds his entire career. Moses played on a few great teams, and played a lot of great games. And of course Moses led the Sixers to the Promised Land of an NBA Title in 1983. He single-handedly handed Julius “Dr. J” Erving his one and only Championship Ring —  and for that, all of Philly is eternally grateful.

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Moses did his job and did it well. He brought his lunch pail to work every day and didn’t ask for any favors or cut any corners. He scored in the paint and rebounded on the block without fail. When you needed a bucket and needed one “bad,” you went to Moses. The phrase “Malone Alone” became a catchall, as Moses would get points and grab rebounds just for something to do. Because that was what he was meant to do.

So, so long Moses. It is too ironic that you pass away on the heels of the passing of our other beloved Sixers’ Center, “Chocolate Thunder,” Darryl Dawkins. Both of you will forever live in the hearts and homes of the Philly Faithful, everywhere.

Darryl Dawkins, The Devastating Dunker Dude

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If you’re from Philly, or love Philly sports in general and the Philadelphia 76ers in particular, you will pause today to remember one the icons of sports, the slam dunker extraordinaire, Darryl Dawkins. This is what ESPN had to say about “Double D:”

From http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13526002/darryl-dawkins-dies-age-58

“Darryl Dawkins was once summoned in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ locker room to meet a celebrity who wanted to meet the man known for dunking with backboard-breaking force.

The guest was Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder. The entertainer is blind, yet even he could tell there was something unique about Dawkins’ game. ‘A guy who never saw me,’ a beaming Dawkins said in a 2011 interview, ‘gave me the name ‘Chocolate Thunder.’

The name stuck, and the rim-wrecking, glass-shattering dunks remain unforgettable — as will the giant of a man who changed the game with them. Darryl named is dunks,

Dawkins died Thursday at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to the Lehigh County coroner’s office. He was 58, and his family released a statement saying the cause of death was a heart attack.

‘Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart,” his family said.

Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit. He averaged 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 regular-season games. His 57.2 field goal percentage is seventh best in NBA history.

‘The NBA family is heartbroken by the sudden and tragic passing of Darryl Dawkins,’ NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. ‘We will always remember Darryl for his incredible talent, his infectious enthusiasm and his boundless generosity. He played the game with passion, integrity and joy, never forgetting how great an influence he had on his legions of fans, young and old.’

Dawkins was selected No. 5 in the 1975 NBA draft by the 76ers. He was the first high school player to be taken in the first round of the draft.”

Darryl was one of a kind, and way before his time. He was brash and brazen, rough and rugged, and he did more for the game than we give him credit for.

So long, Chocolate Thunder.