OKC Thunder In the news: In honor of Maurice Cheeks Basketball Hall of Fame induction

Maurice Cheeks, OKC Thunder (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Maurice Cheeks, OKC Thunder (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder in the news pays homage to Maurice Cheeks entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In conversations with family members and old school hoop heads I’ve heard plenty of praise for Maurice Cheeks. Given the fact he played on a team with the great Julius “Dr. J.” Irving and Moses Malone that isn’t idle commentary.

Although statistics will always be the key attribute players are measured by, Cheeks played in an era where team play was far more relevant. And, Mo embodied what it meant to be ‘a team player” with stellar defense. Cheeks himself humbly speaks to those surrounding him being responsible for his Basketball Hall of Fame induction.

Cheeks Benchmarks:

Mo Cheeks played on the 1982-83 76ers championship team, was a four time All-Star and selected five times to an All-NBA Defensive team. His career spanned 16 seasons where he amassed 1,101 games. There are statistics which stand out as well, like his NBA All-Time 5th steals rank (2,310) and 13th ranking for assists (7,392).

Coaching Tenure:

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Following his playing days, like many intelligent point guards Cheeks got into coaching. Although Cheeks left the Thunder to take a head coaching job in Detroit, but he was back with the OKC Thunder a season later when the Pistons released him after one season.

In the 24 seasons Cheeks spent as a coach he’s been the head coach on three squads including the Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. His associate coach experience has been all with the 76ers and Thunder.

One of the most memorable moments of Cheeks coaching career came in Portland when he stepped in to help the young anthem signer who froze in the moment.

As Mo prepares for his enshrinement ceremony this evening, in the news offers another wonderful article which focuses on Cheeks – the player, the coach and the man.

The Westbrook Whisperer:

ESPN scribe Royce Young serves up a must read on Cheeks relationship with Russell Westbrook and why he’s become an integral member of the OKC Thunder superstars inner circle.

"With 2Pac’s “I Get Around” popping through the speakers, they sat alone together in the spacious practice facility, talking. It wasn’t an unusual sight; Westbrook and Cheeks are almost always together after practice.They routinely compete in free-throw contests against each other — Cheeks wins a lot of them, by the way — and are always connected in conversation."

While Cheeks celebrates his induction tonight, OKC Thunder fans along with 76ers fans and yes those family members who shared stories with me will all smile as Mo takes to the stage. The prestigious honor was overdue for a man who is much more then the simple definitions used to describe him.

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Congratulations from the team at Thunderous Intentions Mo — and enjoy your special weekend – it’s well deserved.