NBA great Moses Malone’s kindness remembered at funeral

Julius Erving, Moses Malone
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 31, 1983 file photo, Philadelphia 76ers Julius Erving, left, and Moses Malone, right, hold the NBA Championship trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles. Malone, a three-time NBA MVP and one of basketball’s most ferocious rebounders, died Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, according to a The Philadelphia 76ers statement. He was 60. (AP Photo/File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Moses Malone has been remembered not only for his rebounds and three MVP trophies, but for making people smile.

In a service marked by laughter from many of his NBA peers and hundreds of others at Houston’s Lakewood Church, the Hall of Famer on Saturday was lauded as a kind and helpful man.

The 60-year-old Malone died a week ago. In 1974 he became the first player to jump from high school to the pros and wound up a 12-time All-Star.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley delivered the eulogy. He referred to Malone as “Dad” and recalled that when he asked Malone for advice as he struggled in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Malone told him he was fat and lazy.

Malone is the NBA’s career leader in offensive rebounds. He led the 76ers to the 1983 NBA championship. In 1979 and 1982, he was the MVP while with the Houston Rockets.

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