Need an example of Malone exemplifying Real Relationships?
At Malone's funeral last week, Charles Barkley, who was drafted by the Sixers in 1984, told a story of how Malone mentored him when he was a rookie.
From the ESPN story
Barkley said he reported to camp weighing close to 300 pounds. Barkley, who expected to step in and be a starter, saw limited action in the early days of the season.
He turned to the one veteran who offered the most encouragement -- the imposing Malone -- and asked him for some feedback.
"I pulled Moses aside and asked him, 'Why am I not playing more?'" Barkley recalled.
Malone turned, looked him up and down and declared, "You're fat and you're lazy, that's why. You can't play basketball if you're not in shape."
Moses instructed the rookie to lose 10 pounds, then told him to meet him at the gym an hour ahead of practice the following morning. For the next month, he trained Barkley before and after the team workouts. Barkley shed 15 pounds in a week's time and started to notice a difference.
"And, as they say, the rest is history," Barkley said.
How much of an impact did Malone have on him? Barkley never called Malone by name. He simply addressed him with a three-letter word:
I purchased a Moses figurine for our corporate office a few months ago. Now, with Malone's passing, it has become one of our office's favorite possessions. When I'm on the court during my morning basketball workouts and think I can't go any longer, I'll glance over at Moses for extra motivation.
"You can't play basketball if you're not in shape."
As a small tribute, I want to share my two favorite videos of Malone.
1) His epic performance against an equally brilliant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1981 NBA Playoffs
2) My favorite Nike commercial of all-time- Malone late at night, in an old-school gym, doing the one thing he cherished on the basketball court- rebounding.
The video footage is rough and gritty. A perfect match for Malone's game.
RIP, Moses. You'll be missed but never forgotten.
Follow Alan @alanarlt