Monday, May 18, 2009
ULTIMATE "INLIER" - Moses Malone
Bill Simmons first coined the term "inliers" is his hilarious article-email exchange with best selling author Malcolm Gladwell called "Curious Guy" (a must read). He called an "inlier" as an athlete that if in another era could have made a huge impact. He tabbed Larry Holmes and Nick Faldo as "inliers" because if they were in another era they may have reached total stardom...like Ali or Palmer. Once I finished reading Simmons three part article, I started to think about "inliers". In fact I have the perfect "inlier"...ME (okay only if I was in an era where short, weak, somewhat athletic guys ruled sports maybe)...no the perfect "inlier" would be MOSES MALONE.
Moses came along in the wrong era. When Malone was at his peak he was in the unfortunate shadow of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon. Moses was stuck behind Jabbar and his showtime Lakers most of his prime years. If you put Moses in the league today everybody would know his name for years to come. If you bring up the topic of great centers of the 80's you automatically get Jabbar and Olajuwon and few would mention Malone. Well lets take a look at his accomplishments during this time period:
1) Between the years of 1978 and 1987, Malone was 1st team or 2nd team All-NBA 8 times (the times he finished 2nd team he was behind Jabbar 3 times and Olajuwon 1 time)
2) He is a career 20 points and 12 rebound guy (Jabbar was 24 ppg and 11 rebounds)
3) He led the league in rebounds 6 times during that period (Jabbar only 1)
4) He won 1 NBA title...against guess who? Jabbar
5) He won the finals MVP against... guess who? Jabbar
6) He led the league in minutes played and free throws made twice each (Jabbar and Olajuwon never did that)
7) In 1981 he was a 30 points and 14 rebound guy.
8) He is in the Hall of Fame (many may not even know that)
Moses Malone was as dominate as any center in the league. The problem was that he didn't win 4 NBA title like Jabbar did in that span nor did he have the "Sky Hook". Jabbar didn't pass the torch to Malone in the late 80's as the best center like you would expect. Instead the claim to the best center went to Olajuwon. Malone was sandwiched between Jabbar and Olajuwon for the best years of his career. Jabbar and Olajowon are on every ones mind when it comes to great centers that played the game while Malone is the forgotten warrior. He is a true "inlier", put him in another era and we may be saying Moses Malone..."you the man".