Third try is the charm, Sixer Mo Cheeks selected for Hall of Fame

Boston Celtics Nate Archibald, center, tries to slip around a pick set up by Sixers Julius Erving, right, while guarding Maurice Cheeks (10) in NBA playoff action, Sunday, April 26, 1981, Philadelphia, Pa. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Boston Celtics Nate Archibald, center, tries to slip around a pick set up by Sixers Julius Erving, right, while guarding Maurice Cheeks (10) in NBA playoff action, Sunday, April 26, 1981, Philadelphia, Pa. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Four-time NBA all-star Maurice Cheeks is the latest Sixers great to make it to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Sixers point guard from 1978 to 1989 made it into the Hall of Fame on his third try.

Cheeks, who is now an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, told NBC10 he was emotional when he heard the news of his induction.

“I walked over to the window and I said is this real?” said Cheeks.  “And I just put my head down and I kind of had some tears coming out of my eyes and just realizing that this was just a moment that I’m not sure if I ever thought would really come.”

In a statement, the Sixers congratulated Cheeks, calling him a “humble, hardworking legend of a point guard” and “one of the greatest players in Philadelphia 76ers history.”

“I’m thrilled that the Hall of Fame has decided to bestow this incredible honor on Sixers great Maurice Cheeks,” said team president Bryan Colangelo in a statement.  “Recognizing what a great point guard and on-court leader he was. Mo was always under control offensively while making teammates better, but he made his biggest contributions controlling the game defensively.”

Cheeks was often overshadowed by his teammates, who included fellow Hall of Famers  Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Charles Barkley. But he became a great player in his own right, ranking fifth all time in the NBA in steals and 13th in assists when he retired.  Known for being an unselfish player and for his defensive hustle, Cheeks was named to the NBA All-Defensive squads from 1983 to 1986.

“When you put a player like Mo in, it’s really special because he didn’t score the most, he didn’t have the most assists, he just helped people win,” said Sixers former coach Larry Brown, also speaking to NBC10.

A native of Chicago, Cheeks was drafted in 1978 with the 36th overall pick out of West Texas State University.  The 6 foot 1 point guard commanded an all star team in the early 80’s that included Sixers legends such as Erving, Andrew Toney, and Bobby Jones.  They made the finals in 1980 and 1982 before signing Malone and eventually winning it all in 1983.

Current Sixers coach Brett Brown called Cheeks an “elite defender and a fierce competitor, but more importantly, he was a great teammate and he’s an even better human being.  Mo Cheeks epitomizes what the city of Philadelphia is all about.”

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