Cheeks to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It has been 25 years since Maurice Cheeks last stepped on an NBA court as a player. After patiently waiting his turn to hear his name mentioned among the greats of the game, he will finally receive the honor as he has been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2018. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news:

Cheeks's 15 year NBA career spanned from 1978 to 1993. He spent 11 seasons as a member of the Sixers, with whom he won an NBA Championship in 1983 as the starting point guard for the legendary "Fo Fo Fo" team that was lead by Julius Erving and Moses Malone. 

Cheeks averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game for his career. Over his 15 years in the NBA he shot an impressive 52.3% from the field. 

Cheeks – a four-time NBA All-Star – is the Sixers all-time leader in steals and assists. He also ranks third in games played and eighth in points scored in franchise history. His no. 10 is retired by the Sixers and hangs in the rafters at Wells Fargo Center.

As effective as he was running the offense, Cheeks's greatest skill was his defense, making four consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Teams from 1983 to 1986. He was named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team in 1987.

Cheeks made an impact in the NBA as a player, but would continue to leave his mark after his retirement as a coach. 

Cheeks joined the Sixers as an assistant coach in 1994 and remained on the staff through the Larry Brown years, where Cheeks helped coach the Sixers to an NBA Finals appearance. After the 2001 NBA Finals Cheeks accepted the head coaching position with the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Over four seasons in Portland Cheeks led the Trail Blazers to a respectable 162-139 record. The Trail Blazers reached the playoffs twice under Cheeks. 

Cheeks's most memorable moment as the head coach of the Trail Blazers did not come on the court, but during the National Anthem before a game. A young anthem singer was performing the song when she forgot the words. Cheeks promptly joined her and reminded her of the words to the song as they finished the song together – to much applause:

After Cheeks was dismissed from the Trail Blazers following the 2005 season he became the head coach for the Sixers. Cheeks never registered a winning season as the head coach of the Sixers but did lead the Sixers to a playoff appearance in 2008. 

Cheeks ranks 10th on the Sixers all-time coaching list in wins with 122. Current head coach Brett Brown is on his heels with 119 wins. 

After his tenure with the Sixers Cheeks became the assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Cheeks would briefly return to being a head coach with the Detroit Pistons in 2013. Cheeks was dismissed during his first year with Detroit and returned to the Oklahoma City Thunder as an assistant in 2015 – where he coaches to this day. 

Cheeks holds a 305-315 record as a head coach in the NBA. 

Cheeks will be joined by Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Grant Hill in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2018. The official announcement is scheduled to take place during the Final Four on Saturday. The enshrinement ceremony will take place on September 7, 2018.

Go to top button