Malone’s death comes less than a month after his contemporary and another 76ers player, Darryl Dawkins, died at the age of 58.
Malone became one of the first high school players to turn pro, choosing to sign with the Utah Stars of the ABA rather than attend the University of Maryland after he graduated from Petersburg, Va., High School. After the ABA and NBA merged, Malone went on to play for the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs.
Malone led the Sixers to the 1983 NBA title and was named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.
At 6-10, he was nicknamed the “Chairman of the Boards” and averaged a double-double over his 20 NBA seasons and led the league in rebounding six times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, with 27,409 career points (eighth all-time) and 16,212 rebounds (fifth all-time).
Malone’s death stunned present and former NBA players.