Sixers great Moses Malone, who led the franchise to a championship in 1982-83, died Sunday morning. He was 60 years old.
According to the Norfolk, Virginia police department, Malone died in a Norfolk hotel room. Per the police report, there was no indication of foul play and his body was discovered when he did not attend a celebrity golf tournament.
Malone, a Hall of Famer, played five seasons with the Sixers and helped write one of the greatest eras in franchise history from 1982-86 before returning for one season in 1993-94.
"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 in a statement on behalf of the organization. "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. No one person has ever conveyed more with so few words — including three of the most iconic in this city's history. His generosity, towering personality and incomparable sense of humor will truly be missed. We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers and as we are once again reminded of the preciousness of life."
Over the past 12 months, the Sixers family has lost three legends. Just 17 days ago, Darryl Dawkins died on Aug. 27, and on Sept. 21, 2014, Caldwell Jones died.
The offseason before the 1982-83 title run, Jones went to the Houston Rockets as part of a sign-and-trade deal that landed the Sixers Malone.
Malone, a Petersburg, Virginia, native, was a three-time MVP, 12-time All-Star and is one of only four players in NBA history with 25,000-plus points and 15,000-plus rebounds. He currently sits eighth on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 27,409 career points, and fifth in rebounds with 16,212.
"We are stunned and deeply saddened by the passing of Hall of Famer Moses Malone, an NBA legend gone far too soon," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "Known to his legions of fans as the 'Chairman of the Boards,' Moses competed with intensity every time he stepped on the court. With three MVPs and an NBA championship, he was among the most dominant centers ever to play the game and one of the best players in the history of the NBA and the ABA. Even more than his prodigious talent, we will miss his friendship, his generosity, his exuberant personality, and the extraordinary work ethic he brought to the game throughout his 21-year pro career. Our thoughts are with Moses’ family and friends during this difficult time."
Malone put Julius Erving and the Sixers over the top in 1982-83. Prior to his arrival, Dr. J and the Sixers lost in the NBA Finals in 1976-77, 1979-80 and 1981-82. In Malone's first season, the Sixers went 65-17 and entered the playoffs with sky-high expectations. When asked how the Sixers would fare, Malone famously said, "Fo', Fo', Fo'," signifying that the Sixers would sweep each round. They ended up going 12-1 in the postseason en route to the title.
After the Sixers traded the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1986 to Cleveland for Roy Hinson, they shockingly traded Malone, 1985 first-round pick Terry Catledge and a future first-round pick to Washington.
The Sixers received Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson in return, marking one of the worst trades in franchise history. Robinson played just two seasons before injuries cut his career short. Ruland, from 1986-92, played just 18 games for the Sixers before his career ended following the 1992-93 season.
Malone returned to the Sixers for one season in 1993-94, before playing 17 games for the Spurs in 1994-95 and retiring.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.