American basketball great Moses Malone dead at 60: reports

NBA Legends Team star Moses Malone (R) guards China National Team's Sun Jun Jilin during their final game in a four-game series in China in this Oct 23, 1998 photo.
NBA Legends Team star Moses Malone (R) guards China National Team's Sun Jun Jilin during their final game in a four-game series in China in this Oct 23, 1998 photo. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Moses Malone, an American basketball Hall of Famer and three time MVP, died Sunday at the age of 60, one of his former teams said.

Malone died in his sleep at a hotel in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was to have played in a golf tournament, Fox News reported. It quoted another Hall of Famer, Calvin Murphy, who was also playing in the tournament.

Among other plaudits, the 2 metre tall Malone was known as the "chairman of the boards" because of his skill at rebounding.

Malone played for eight teams over 20 seasons. In every one of them, he averaged double-digit figures in points scored and rebounds, ESPN reported.

In 1983, he led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers and was named most valuable player of that series.

In a statement on Sunday, the Sixers mourned his death.

"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," team CEO Scott O'Neil said.

"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," O'Neil said in a statement.

Over his career Malone averaged 20.6 points per game and 12.2 rebounds. He was also named to the All Star game 12 times.

Other than the Sixers, the NBA teams Malone played for include the Houston Rockets, Washington Bullets and Atlanta Hawks, with whom he finished his career in the 1994-1995 season.

Malone was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.