It took a quarter-century after his retirement from the National Basketball Association, but Philadelphia 76ers point guard legend Maurice “Mo” Cheeks is going into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
In doing so, Cheeks becomes the third player from the Sixers’ 1982-83 to be enshrined, joining Julius “Dr. J.” Erving and the late Moses Malone. Billy Cunningham, who coached the Sixers to the NBA title during the 1982-83 season, is also enshrined in the hall.
Known for his efficient play and quiet demeanor, Cheeks will be joined by two other extraordinary point guards, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, along with front court standout Grant Hill. The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees will be officially announced Saturday during the NCAA Division I Final Four Basketball tournament in San Antonio. The inductees will be enshrined during Hall of Fame festivities Sept. 6-8 in Springfield.
When he retired, Cheeks was the NBA’s all-time leader in steals and ranked fifth in assists while shooting better than 52 percent from the floor. He is still ranked among the top 15 players in steals and assists.
Cheeks spent the first 11 seasons of his 15-year playing career with the Sixers. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals as a Sixer. As a player, he averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 assists and 2.1 steals. He was also the Sixers’ head coach from 2005-08, amassing a 122-147 record. With stops in Portland and Detroit on his resume, Cheeks, who is now an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has an overall coaching mark of 305-315.
Cheeks arguably may have been the Sixers’ best point guard of all time. If not the best, he certainly was the most efficient. During his stretch with the team, the 76ers were 633-377. Included in that span were seven straight seasons of 50 or more victories. The Sixers were 72-56 in the playoffs, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals eight times, the Eastern Conference Finals five times and the NBA Finals three times.