Part 12 in a 20 part series, Yellow 55 is up next with Bobby Dandridge. -Jake
When it comes to Moses Malone, Bullet isn't the first thing that comes to mind on his resume. A lot of people will talk about his time with Houston where he won 2 MVP titles and played a key part in the development a player over at the University of Houston who turned out to be not half-bad:
Others will talk about Malone's next destination, Philadelphia, where his "fo' fo' fo'" was the battle cry as the Sixers finally oover the hump and won the NBA Finals in 1983. When you add in that no Philadelphia team has won a title since, (unless you count Smarty Jones) Moses' contributions to the great Sixers teams have endeared him to the Philly faithful:
Bottomline: When you think of Moses Malone, Bullet isn't the first thing to come to mind...or even the third for that matter but Moses did fill some of the roles that came along with his Biblical namesake during his brief stint in Washington.
In the story of Exodus, Moses was accompanied by his brother Aaron who played the yin to his brother's yang as they combined their forces and neutralized each others weaknesses as they helped deliver their people of Egypt. Likewise, Moses was accompanied by his mighty brother Jeff Malone (yes I know they weren't brothers, just let me finish the analogy) who provided the perimeter output that allowed Moses to reign supreme inside. Together, they formed a duo that plagued anyone that got in their way.
As already mentioned, he was a tutor to Hakeem Olajuwon in his days in Houston. In Washington, Moses again found himself tutoring a lanky 7 footer from Africa. This new disciple didn't have anywhere near as much potential as Moses' last student and he was unable to have the same impact that his predecessor did. While the project was unsuccessful, it's hard to label Moses as a failure in this regard. Not every follower of Moses can be a prophet.
It's ok Manute, you're still my favorite hockey player.
A forgotten aspect of Moses leading his people to the Promised Land is that he never made it there. Long before his death, they were right on the doorstep of taking what was rightfully theirs, but fearing what was inside, chose not to seize that moment and as a result had to endure 40 years in the desert until that generation had all passed before getting another chance to enter. Yes, Moses was able to take a look at the Promised Land from a distance, but he never got the chance to enjoy the land he had delivered his people to.
In much the same way, Malone was only able to give the Washington faithful a glimpse of championship glory (two first round exits in the playoffs) before fear of signing a center who was on the downside of his career led the leadership to reject their opportunity to reach a land flowing with champagne and the Larry O' Brien trophy. This act of unfaithfulness brought about 16 years in the desert of no playoff victories. But fear not mighty
Israel Washington, for your Messiah has come.