SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CBS/AP) — It was quite a way to ring in his birthday as Maurice Cheeks became one the first of three great point guards in this year’s Basketball Hall of Fame class.
The former Philadelphia 76ers star broke down in tears during his induction speech Friday night.
“Charles told me not to cry, but I’m about to talk about my mother right here,” he said, calling her “My very first coach, Mama Cheeks.”
Julius Erving approached him to pat Cheeks on the shoulder while he wiped his eyes.
Cheeks, who turns 62 on Saturday, is now an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A four-time All-Star who was a member of the Sixers’ 1983 championship team, he retired as No. 5 on the NBA’s career assist list. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are also in this year’s class.
Cheeks said he was intimidated when he first arrived in Philadelphia.
“Can you imagine as a rookie, walking into the gym and the first person you see is Dr. J?” he said. “I remember almost turning around and walking out.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)