STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Pro basketball has lost one of the defining players of an era. Moses Malone has died. He started young, and he soared high. He was a dominating center - the NBA's most valuable player three times in the late '70s and early '80s. He was so effective at rebounding the basketball, it earned him the nickname Chairman of the Boards. Here's NPR's Brakkton Booker.
BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Moses Malone was remarkably quick and agile for his size. And he turned out to be the missing piece the 76ers needed to bring the NBA title home to Philadelphia in 1983.
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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Malone - going in. The basket counts and a foul. And he is relentless, he is not to be stopped, and he is determined.
BOOKER: The 76ers swept in the LA Lakers in four straight games. Malone won Finals MVP but dedicated the championship to his Hall of Fame teammate Dr. J, Julius Erving.
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MOSES MALONE: We did this for the fans of Philadelphia, the coach, the general manager, and now, we did it for the players, especially for Dr. J. You know, Doc - it's great for Doc, and it's great for the whole team.
BOOKER: John Lucas II is a former NBA coach and player. Lucas tried to get Malone to play at the University of Maryland with him in the 1970s.
JOHN LUCAS II: He went to school for one day, and then he went to the pros.
BOOKER: The two eventually teamed up on the Houston Rockets. Malone played for nine NBA and ABA teams in his career, but he's perhaps most remembered for his time with the 76ers. Dawn Staley is a Philadelphia native and the head coach of the women's team the University of South Carolina. She saw Malone over the weekend at a ceremony for the 2015 Basketball Hall of Fame class. Staley may have been in the last photo of Malone. It was the two of them posing at the airport.
DAWN STALEY: I posted the picture of us on Twitter, and someone sent me a message saying that he passed away, and I'm still in disbelief.
BOOKER: She says Philadelphians will always be indebted to Malone.
STALEY: We haven't had a championship since Mo was with our franchise, so he's always going to be barbershop and hair salon talk in all of Philadelphia.
BOOKER: Moses Malone was 60 years old. Brakkton Booker, NPR News.
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