He began his professional career out of high school after he was selected in the third round of the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. He was named an ABA All-Star as a rookie and played two seasons in the league until it merged with the NBA in 1976. He landed in the NBA with the Buffalo Braves, who traded him after two games to the Houston Rockets. Malone became a five-time All-Star in six seasons with the Rockets. After leading the NBA in rebounding in 1979, he was named league MVP for the first time. He led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981, and won his second MVP award in 1982. Malone was traded to Philadelphia the following season, when he repeated as MVP and led the 76ers to a championship in his first year. In his first of two stints with Philadelphia, he was an All-Star in each of his four seasons. Following another trade, Malone was an All-Star in his only two seasons with the Washington Bullets (known later as the Wizards). He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks, earning his 12th straight and final All-Star selection in his first season. In his later years, he played with the Milwaukee Bucks before returning to the 76ers and completing his career with the San Antonio Spurs.
He led the NBA in rebounding six times, including a then-record five straight seasons (1981-1985). He finished his career as the all-time leader in offensive rebounds after leading both the ABA and NBA in the category a combined nine times. Malone was nicknamed "Chairman of the Boards" for his rebounding prowess. Combining his ABA and NBA statistics, he ranks ninth all-time in career points (29,580) and third in total rebounds (17,834). He was named to both the ABA All-Time Team and the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Malone died in his sleep at the age of 60, on the morning of September 13, 2015, at a hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. He had been scheduled to play in a charity golf tournament that day and was found unresponsive in his room when he did not appear for breakfast or answer his phone. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia listed the cause of death as hypertensive and atherosclerotic heart disease. Source
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