The entire NBA community — from Commissioner Adam Silver down through numerous players any true fan of the game — have been saddened by the sudden passing of Hall of Fame big man Moses Malone.
Few felt that as acutely as Charles Barkley.
When Barkley was drafted into the NBA he spent his first two seasons in Philadelphia a teammate of Malone, and the two formed a close bond. Malone was Barkley’s NBA mentor, to the point that when Barkley was inducted into the Hall of Fame Malone as one of his presenters.
Barkley, now an NBA analyst for TNT, released this 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 and got him in shape and made him a player. Every time I saw him I called him ‘Dad.’ I hope he knew how much I appreciated and loved him.”
Hopefully so. And hopefully Malone realized how many others around the NBA felt the same way. Including another former teammate, current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who released this statement.
“I am saddened by the news of the passing of Moses. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. For me, Moses was a teammate, a friend and a mentor. He taught me what it took to be a true pro. The NBA lost a giant today and I lost a friend. Moses Malone – there was truly no one like him.”