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Maurice Cheeks
Position(s) Point guard
Jersey #(s) 10, 1
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Born September 8, 1956 (1956-09-08) (age 53)
Chicago, Illinois
Career information
Year(s) 1978–1993
NBA Draft 1978 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36

Selected by Philadelphia 76ers

College West Texas State
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     12,195
Assists     7,392
Steals     2,310
Stats @
Career highlights and awards

Maurice Edward "Mo" Cheeks (born September 8, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired American professional basketball player. He was the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, having been hired on May 23, 2005 and fired on December 13, 2008. He was head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from the start of the 2001–02 season until March 2, 2005, when he was fired from the position.

On August 14, 2009, he was made an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.



Cheeks was born in Chicago, grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes, and attended DuSable High School. He attended West Texas State University from 1974 to 1978. Cheeks was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player for three straight seasons, as he averaged 16.8 points per game and shot nearly 57% for his collegiate career. He is currently the third leading scorer in WTSU history.

After college, Cheeks was selected as the 36th pick in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks played 15 years as a point guard in the NBA, including 11 with the Philadelphia 76ers, He earned four trips to the NBA All-Star Game, and he helped the 76ers earn three trips to the NBA Finals in a four-year span in the early 1980s (1980, 1982, and 1983), including one NBA championship in 1983. While starting at point guard for a Sixers team that at times included stars such as Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, and Charles Barkley, Cheeks was well-regarded for his unselfish team play and excellent defensive skills. As a result, he was named to four straight NBA All-Defensive squads from 1983–86, and then earned a spot on the second team in 1987.

In NBA history, Cheeks ranks third all-time in steals and eighth all-time in assists. At the time of his retirement from the NBA in 1993, Cheeks was the NBA all-time leader in steals and ranked fifth all-time in assists.[1] He averaged 11.7 points per game for his career and notched over 2 steals per contest.

After retirement, Cheeks spent one year coaching in the Continental Basketball Association, then spent the next seven seasons as an NBA assistant coach. He worked for the 76ers under three different head coaches from 1994 to 2001, and he was an instrumental part of the 2001 Philadelphia team that reached the NBA Finals. In 2001, he was hired as Portland Trail Blazers head coach. He led the team to two playoff berths in four years as coach, but could not get past the first round. He was fired after a poor start to the 2004–05 campaign.

On April 25, 2003, during a game between the Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks, Cheeks aided 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert in singing the National anthem. After Gilbert forgot the words at "At the twilight's last gleaming", Cheeks rushed over to help her and they finished it together, as the entire Rose Garden Arena crowd sang with them. Cheeks and Gilbert received a standing ovation after the song was over.[2]

In 2005, Cheeks was named as head coach of the 76ers. Maurice Cheeks was popular among Sixers fans because of his eleven year tenure with the Sixers, during which he helped guide the Sixers to the 1983 NBA championship. However, he missed the playoffs in each of his first two seasons.

On February 20, 2007, the 76ers extended Cheeks' contract one year despite his losing record as coach.

At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, expectations were low and the 76ers were picked to finish last in the Conference by many prognosticators. The Sixers, however, made the playoffs for the first time in Cheeks' tenure as the 7th seed before losing to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

On December 13, 2008, the 76ers fired Cheeks' after a 9–14 start. Assistant general manager Tony DiLeo was appointed interim coach.

Coaching record

Regular season   G Games coached   W Games won   L Games lost
Post season  PG  Games coached  PW  Games won  PL  Games lost
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL Result
POR 2001–02 82 49 33 .598 3rd in Pacific 3 0 3 Lost in First Round
POR 2002–03 82 50 32 .610 3rd in Pacific 7 3 4 Lost in First Round
POR 2003–04 82 41 41 .500 3rd in Pacific Missed Playoffs
POR 2004–05 55 22 33 .400 (fired)
PHI 2005–06 82 38 44 .463 2nd in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
PHI 2006–07 82 35 47 .427 3rd in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
PHI 2007–08 82 40 42 .488 3rd in Atlantic 6 2 4 Lost in First Round
PHI 2008–09 23 9 14 .391 (fired)
Career 570 284 286 .498


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Dunleavy
Head Coach of the Portland Trail Blazers
Succeeded by
Kevin Pritchard (interim)
Preceded by
Jim O'Brien
Head Coach of the Philadelphia 76ers
Succeeded by
Tony DiLeo


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