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Charles Barkley says he called mentor Moses Malone ‘Dad’

Hall of Famer Moses Malone, who died Sunday at age 60, helped turn Charles Barkley into a Hall of Fame player himself.
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Basketball Hall of Famer Moses Malone, who died Sunday at age 60, helped turn Charles Barkley into a Hall of Fame player himself.

In a statement issued Sunday, Barkley said Malone was a father figure. 

“The man I called ‘Dad’ passed today. Words can't explain my sadness,” Barkley said. “I will never know why a Hall of Famer took a fat, lazy kid from Auburn and treated him like a son and got him in shape and made him a player. Every time I saw him I called him 'Dad.' I hope he knew how much I appreciated and loved him.”

Barkley also spoke with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan and detailed how Malone helped Barkley as a young player with the Philadelphia 76ers, imploring him to lose weight.

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Barkley and Malone spent two seasons as teammates in Philadelphia before Malone was traded to the Washington Bullets. Barkley went on to play 16 seasons in the NBA and was an 11-time All-Star selection.

Barkley told MacMullan he had seen Malone just two days before his death.

“I saw him Friday night at the Hall of Fame,” Barkley said. “I thanked him again for making me the player I became, like I always do.”

Classic Sports Illustrated photos of Moses Malone

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- Dan Gartland