Even though he was only 19, Moses Malone already had all the tools necessary for playing with the pros. So when he moved on from Petersburg High School for the Utah Stars of the ABA, Moses was ready. Malone was a rebounding and scoring machine that could only be stopped with a hard foul.
A Sixers icon, Moses was the main guy for the team from Philadelphia when they won the title in 1983; he averaged 26 points and 15.8 rebounds during the 82-83 playoffs, playing 40.3 minutes per game. However, his best individual season actually came the year before that when he was at Houston. In that season, Malone averaged 31.1 points, 14.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game, but he couldn't bring the title to H-Town.
His game earned him three MVP titles, and he was a six-time NBA rebounding leader; only Chamberlain (11) and Dennis Rodman (7) are better than him. He grabbed a total of 16.212 rebounds, the fifth-most in history, behind Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Elvin Hayes. On his birthday, here are the 'Chairman of the Boards' best displays for the three teams that marked his career.
Sixers Malone vs. the Celtics in 1985
Malone was a dominant presence in the paint, and he would easily grab rebounds on both sides of the floor. He was at his best in a game in 1985 against the Boston Celtics and Larry Bird. Malone went off for 38 points, 24 rebounds, and three assists. Big Mo sank 11 of 23 shots from the field, and he scored all of 16 attempts from the free-throw line and led the Sixers to a comfortable win.
Rockets Malone vs. the San Diego Clippers in 1982
Malone spent six seasons in Houston and led the franchise to a 251-241 record during his Rockets' tenure. Moses set his record-scoring game on February 2nd, 1982, against the San Diego Clippers. Malone finished the game with 53 points, 22 rebounds, and four assists. He was 63.3% (19/30) from the field, and he made 83.3% (15/18) of his free throws. Malone played a total of 42 minutes against San Diego.
Bullets Malone vs. the New Jersey Nets in 1987
After playing for four years in Philadelphia, Malone came to the Washington Bullets in 1986/87. On April 8th, 1987, the 'Chairman of the Boards' recorded another 50-point game, just three points shy of his career record. Malone had a magnificent game in which he led his Bullets to a 118-109 victory, and on top of 50 points, Malone added 21 rebounds, six assists, and five blocks. Moses scored 18 of 31 field-goal attempts and 14 of 14 free throws tries. When asked about the game, Moses kept it simple:
"Once I get the form down and concentrate, I can hit the shot."
Moses Malone, Washington Post