The death of 76ers great Moses Malone rocked the sports world Sunday.
A ferocious rebounder, the Hall of Famer known as the Chairman of the Boards was mourned far and wide.
Former and current NBA players took to social media, released statements, and expressed grief over losing the three-time MVP who led the Sixers to their last NBA title in 1983.
“I am extremely saddened to hear of Moses’ passing this morning. This is extremely tough for me. I am completely in shock and words can’t express the pain and loss I am feeling right now,” Dominique Wilkins said in a statement.
Malone played alongside Wilkins in Atlanta from 1988-91 and made the same impression on the Hawks’ legend as he did on so many who spent time with him.
“He was one of the first greats who truly mentored me and showed me how to be a professional. I never saw anyone work harder than Moses, and away from basketball he was just as kind and thoughtful,” Wilkins said.
The news quickly spread through the Sixers community and a flood of posts on Twitter and Instagram followed from those who knew him personally, and those who only knew him as an icon of unyielding aggression in the paint.
Allen Iverson said on Twitter, “My condolences to the family and friends of Moses Malone. You will truly be missed. Rest in peace Big Mo!”
Malone’s former Sixers teammate Charles Barkley said in a 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.”
Current Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor tweeted a photo of Malone in a sea of fans with the words, “You had the whole city of Philly on your back. Rest in Paradise.”
76ers CEO Scott O’Neil and NBA commissioner Adam Silver released statements as the void left by the 60-year-old’s passing was felt in all corners of the NBA.
“I have fond memories of when Moses and Dr. J led their Sixers to a 4-0 sweep in the 1983 NBA Finals against my Lakers,” Magic Johnson said in a tweet.
The passing of Malone came less than three weeks after another heralded Sixer, Darryl Dawkins, died at 58. The loss of the two so close together and their similar ages sank in as the day wore on.
“My heart saddens once more, Moses Malone passes away at 60, way too soon,” Reggie Miller said on Twitter.
Portland point guard Damian Lillard took to Instagram, and under a photo of Malone rising up for a dunk he said, “Rest easy big fella. We been losing some greats lately. Life is such a precious thing, and we all should feel challenged to live it to the fullest.”
The NBA lost one of its most dominant and legendary players. And while the outpouring shows grief and sadness, the message is one of appreciation and love.
Gone, but never forgotten.
BY THE NUMBERS
Moses Malone’s rebounds per game in his 19-season NBA career.
Malone’s total offensive rebounds in his NBA career, 2,000 more than anyone else.
Malone’s NBA All-Star Game appearances.
Malone’s NBA MVP awards, a number topped by only five players.
REACTIONS ON TWITTER
Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Lost Coach Ray Wilson and friend Moses Malone this week. I’ll be strong and preserve their memory and influence on me and many others.
I can’t believe this. Just saw Moses in Springfield at the HOF on Friday. Saw him in the hotel gym working out on Thursday. God bless him.
Walt Clyde Frazier
My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Moses Malone. One of the greatest #basketball players gone way too soon.
Sending my love and condolences to the family of my friend, and @NBA legend Moses Malone. @Hoophall
Rest in Heaven to The Great Moses Malone. You will be missed but NEVER forgotten.
Another one of the game’s legends gone too soon. A champion & one of the elite players of his time. RIP Moses Malone.
RIP to Sixers great Moses Malone my prayers to the family on the loss of this great icon
#Rip to the great Moses Malone
Sad day for me and I know the fans of Moses Malone stay strong NBA FAM ___