Malone

Moses Malone delivered on his promise to bring an NBA championship to Philadelphia.


When Julius Erving came to Philadelphia prior to the 1976-77 season, an NBA Championship was predicted for the 76ers. While the 76ers did make three trips to the NBA Finals in Dr. J's first six years with the team, the title continued to elude them. But when Moses Malone, the league's MVP, played out his option and became available as a free agent, Philadelphia swooped in and signed him, giving up Caldwell Jones and a first round draft pick to Houston as compensation. The trade solidified the 76ers up front, and Philadelphia went on to 65 victories and the Atlantic Division title. When asked how Philadelphia would perform in the Playoffs, Malone issued what would become a famous prediction: "Fo', Fo', Fo'," meaning that the 76ers would win each round in a sweep on its way to the Championship.

But the Lakers would have something to say about that. Bolstered by the addition of smooth forward James Worthy, the top pick in the 1982 NBA Draft, the Lakers won 58 games and another Pacific Division title, their third in four years. But in the last week of the season, Worthy fractured his leg coming down from a tip-in. It would be a bad break for the Lakers. In the Playoffs, the Lakers easily moved past Portland and San Antonio to advance to the Finals. The 76ers swept the Knicks and defeated Milwaukee in five games to meet the Lakers. But Los Angeles, already without Worthy, were without Norm Nixon and Bob McAdoo for much of the Finals and Philadelphia swept to its first title since the days of Wilt Chamberlain. Malone's prediction had to be updated to `Fo', Fi', Fo' for the championship rings.

Dr. J revels in the championship hoopla.

MOSES LEADS SIXERS TO PROMISED LAND
Julius Erving had won two ABA Championships with the New York Nets in 1974 and 1976. Although Erving and the other ABA players proved they were good enough for the NBA from the start, the NBA title forecast for the 76ers with Erving had not come to pass. Then Moses Malone, another ABA star, came to Philadelphia. The 76ers went 12-1 in the Playoffs and recorded a sweep over the Lakers in the Finals.

"Let's not make believe," said 76ers Coach Billy Cunningham, a member of the 76ers' last title team in 1967. "The difference from last year was Moses. He gave us the consistency inside that the Lakers had always gotten from Abdul-Jabbar. We got that and more from Moses."