By Jonah Sharf
On August 29, 1974, Moses Malone was drafted by and signed a professional contract with the ABA’s Utah Stars, and he became the first player in modern basketball to go directly from high school to a professional league. Malone was instantly a great player, becoming an ABA All-Star in his rookie season, and played two seasons in the ABA until the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. The “Chairman of the Boards” went on to earn 12 NBA All-Star selections, three NBA MVPs, a championship, and a Finals MVP during his NBA career. He was known for excellent rebounding and defense throughout his career, and his large frame allowed him to be an excellent scorer as well—during his career he averaged 20.3 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game. Malone was the first of a long line of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers to go straight from high school to the NBA, including Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.