Moses Malone was the most dominant big man not named Kareem in the late 70’s and 80’s. He’s also the only guy, aside from Wilt, to get traded after an MVP season.
Malone was dealt to Philadelphia after winning the NBA’s MVP award with Houston during the 1981-82 season. Wilt was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 1968 after winning 3 consecutive MVP awards for the Philadelphia 76ers in ‘66, ‘67 and ‘68. Chamberlain eventually won a title with the Lakers, but he didn’t win a title that next year. That’s because it was Russell’s final year as an NBA player and he went out as Boston’s player/coach champion, like he always does, by defeating the Lakers’ HOF line-up featuring Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor in 7 insane games (actually the 7th game, when Chamberlain failed to get subbed in during the waning moments, was the impetus behind a decades-long feud with Russell, who thought Chamberlain had neglected to challenge him in his final game as an NBA player. They would later work things out).
Malone was different than Chamberlain though. The year he was traded to Philadelphia, his new 76ers teammates consisted of Dr. Julius Irving, Andrew “Pretty” Toney, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones. Combine the rebounding and scoring dominance of Moses with that line-up and they went on a rampage through the Eastern Conference. Before the playoffs started, Malone issued his famous edict: “Fo Fo Fo" when asked about the Sixers chances that postseason (Fo as in four, so Moses meant they were sweeping the Eastern Semis, the Eastern Finals and the Finals). It was actually fo, fi, fo, as they dropped a game to the Bucks in the Eastern Finals, but no bother. They swept the Lakers in the Finals and took home the 1983 Larry O’Brien trophy. Malone would win the regular season MVP award that season (his second consecutive and the third of his career up to that point), and also the NBA Finals MVP. Quite the year for Mr. Fo Fo Fo, after getting traded from the Rockets that off-season.
Why did I write all this about Moses? Oh yeah, to honor the the 25th anniversary of Nike’s seminal sneakers (I don’t know anything about kicks, but I’m assuming they’re seminal), the Air Force 1, Medicom Toys is offering a limited edition set of 6 figurines featuring players that rocked the original iteration of the shoe. Moses was one of those 6. Buy the set, valued at $1500 here. The other five players included in the set are Michael Cooper, Bobby Jones (his Philly teammate in ‘83), Calvin Natt, Mychal Thompson, and Jamal Wilkes.
Heady company for any NBA player, but I’d take Moses over all of them.