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Malone, Karl 1963–

Karl Malone 1963

Professional basketball player

Scrawny Kid Scored Big

Redefined the Position Power Forward

Success Rooted in Brutal Work Ethic

Overcame Pain of Fatherlessness

Reputed to be Most Dangerous Player

Sources

Karl Malone is professional basketballs premier power forward, scoring points on and off the court as a 13-year NBA superstar with the Utah Jazz. Malone is the only player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to score 2,000 points or more in ten consecutive seasons. At 34, Malone may have reached the pinnacle of his career with an MVP Award winning year, averaging 27.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists. He was the oldest MVP in league history, having a better and more complete year than Michael Jordan in 1996-97, according to some. That year he led Utah teammates into the championship against the favored Chicago Bullsonly to lose one more time. But he was not always such a star.

Scrawny Kid Scored Big

His path to Salt Lake City started in Summerfield, Louisiana where he was born. The young Malone grew up scrawny and wild in a another town called Mount Sinai. Only a regular whupping from his mom kept the little terrorist in line. I didnt get enough whuppings, Malone laughingly said in Playboy If I had gotten more, I probably would have changed sooner than I did, he continued.

When he got his life turned around, Karl built himself up from a scrawny kid and town trouble-maker to become a standout high school basketball player. He led his high school team to three consecutive state titles. But poor grades nearly ruined his chances to play college ball, so at his mothers urging he attended Louisiana Tech and sat out his first year to improve his grades.

Once academically eligible, Malone become a star. He led the school to two NCAA tournament invitations and, according to Playboy, earned his famous nickname from a sportswriter who drove through rough weather to watch Malone play and penned words to this effect: Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, nor double-teaming stopped The Mailman that night.

In 1985, The Mailman dropped out of college a year early to turn pro. He is still a year shy of a degree in Elementary Education, but vowed to get his diploma some day. Passed over by a dozen other teams, the Jazz selected him as the 13th pick. Malone quickly showed

At a Glance

Born Karl A. Malone, July 24, 1963, in Summerfield, LA; eighth of eight children to Shirley (sawmill worker) and J.P. Malone (divorced 1967, died of cancer 1977); stepson of Ed Turner (grocer, plumber), half sister, Tiffany; married Kay Kinsey, 1991; father of four; Kadee, Kylee, Karl, Jr., and Karlee. Education; Louisiana Tech University, 1981-85,

Career: NBA basketball player, Utah Jazz, 1985.

Awards: member NBA Al l-Rookie team, 1986; member NBA All-Defensive team, 1988; named to NBA All-Star first team, 1989-94 and 1996-98, second team, 1988; recipient NBA All-Star team MVP award 1989, co-recipient, 1993; named to US Olympic Basketball Team, gold medal, 1992; voted NBA MVP, 1997; selected by The Salt Lake Tribune as its inaugural Utahn of the Year, 1998; Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award, 1998.

Addresses: HomeSalt Lake City, UT; Office Utah Jazz Delta Center, 301 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1216.

how wrong the other teams were when he averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds and made the NBA All-Rookie team. Over a 13-year career, he has averaged 25-plus points and nearly 11 rebounds a game. In 1997, he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone in the 25,000-point, 10,000-rebound club.

Redefined the Position Power Forward

Who is the greatest power forward of all time? Images of past greatness at that position included Bob Pettit, who averaged 26 points and 16 rebounds per game and made the All-Star team in each of his 11 years in the NBA. Dave DeBusschere and Gus Johnson were prototype power forwards who won games with dirty work rebound, bang bodies, set picks, block shots, fight, scratch, claw but let others do the scoring. Elvin Hayes, who averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds per game in his first 11 years in the NBA and Spencer Haywood, who also averaged 26 points and 16 boards in his first three years in the NBA showed that a big man could score, not just do the dirty work. But as their game fell off, the scoring power forward became extinctthat is, until Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale came along to resurrect and redefine what coaches call the #4 position.

In 1996, Malone joined Barkley, Pettit and Hayes as the only power forwards to post 10 or more 20-point, 10-rebound NBA seasons. Next season Malone is sure to surpass all the career numbers established by his predecessors. Yet some point out that Malone will not be considered truly great as long as he has yet to win the big onean NBA championship for his team. However, many more sports analysts concurred that it was Malones work ethic which is redefining how the game is played and how all-time greatness is measured.

Success Rooted in Brutal Work Ethic

Malone has been compared to a raging bull and a runaway truck. But that unfairly overlooks the physical preparation and mental discipline that Malone brought to each game. For years now, he has punished and polished his 6-foot-9, 256-pound frame into a well-sculpted mass of muscle that tapers to a 31-inch waist with less than 5 percent body fat. His deeply private, year-round training sessions include arduous running drills, high-intensity weight lifting, and brutal StairMasters workouts. His off-season regimen also includes bailing hay on his 50-acre ranch in the steamy heat of an Arkansas summer, just down the road from where he grew up as a kid.

Never good enough to get by on talent alone, Malone is considered the strongest and best-conditioned basketball player on the planet according to The Sporting News. He missed just one game in the last eight seasons. Until receiving a one-game suspension in April of 1998, Malone had started 543 consecutive games, the longest consecutive starts streak in the NBA. The secret, Malone said, was mental. If you find something to give you motivationwhether its negative or positiveride it. Mine happened to be negative, when people said I wouldnt be a good basketball player, he told Sport.

My workouts are important to me, Malone told a Sporting News reporter. I dont do it for fun, and I dont do it for glory. I do it because its necessary. I feel my strength and endurance give me an advantage, and I want to keep that advantage, he added.

Overcame Pain of Fatherlessness

The eighth of eight children to Shirley and J.P. Malone, Karl was raised mostly by his mom. Shirley worked at three jobs, after his dad abandoned the family when Karl was four. He died of bone cancer in 1977. His mother remarried and had another child, his sister Tiffany. Shirley has always been Malones confidante, his fishing and hunting buddy, and his moral example. Malone credited his mom with instilling in him bedrock religion including the value of hard work and forgiving his father for abandoning him.

Karl talks to Shirley before every game. Always and lovingly, he told Playboy, that his mother tells him how many points to get, how many rebounds, how many assists. Hell tell her, OK, you got em! Then hed go out and get even more.

Reputed to be Most Dangerous Player

One blemish on the Mailmans superstar status and fan appeal was that one flagrant foulsome would say intentionally vicious sledge-hammer elbowon Isiah Thomas in December of 1991. The hit caused Isiah to get 40 stitches near his eye and Malone a $10,000 fine and one-game suspension. Malone claimed it was an accident and did not mean to hurt Thomas. Right after the incident, he and Isiah talked it out (no apology given, but a denial that it was deliberate).

In April of 1998, Malone was suspended yet again for a flagrant elbow. The injured victim was David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. He was fined $5,000 and suspended for one game. It ended his starts streak of 543. Malone apologized to Robinson after the game.

Still, the media perpetuated the image of Malone as a villain on the baseline. After a game in which Malone sent Atlanta Hawk Sidney Moncrief sprawling, according to Sports Illustrated, fellow Hawk Dominique Wilkins stung the Mailman with a rebuke, to this effect: Youre a cheap-shot artist. Youre not a man. You always go out there to hurt somebody smaller than you. Not everyone buys the Mailman-as-Villain image. Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson differed in Sports Illustrated, Theres no way I consider him a dirty player. Hes physical, throws his body around and does play the enforcer role on that team. But thats not the same thing as being dirty. The main thing a coach asks from his players is to be competitive every minute. And Karl Malone is. According to an informal poll cited by Sports Illustrated, 50% of NBA players consider Malone physical but entirely within the rules, 40% say that he tests the upper limit of physicality too frequently, and 10% believe that hes outright dirty.

Those who do not like Malone usually do not know him away from the game. People think Im the meanest guy in the world when Im on the court, and maybe I am, Malone told Sport magazine recently. But off the court Im a nice guy. When I go home, Im just Karl, Im just Daddy, he continued. And not just to his own kids. In the summer of 1995, he befriended 13-year-old cancer victim Danny Ewing. The friendship went both ways, and Karl learned theres more to life than basketball.

A most eligible bachelor until in 1991, Malone married Kay Kinsey, a former Miss Idaho USA. But the married Malone is still considered a sex symbol who must fend off advances from the opposite sex. He is very much a kid at heart. Everybody is a kid to some degree. My father passed away when I was young, and I could never be the kid I wanted to be. Now I have kids [Kadee and Kylee] and I want to be a kid with them. My wife is like the husband and the father. Im the son my wife and I dont have right now he commented in Sport That son, Karl Jr., came along in 1996.

Malones life on and off the basketball court remains simple, disciplined, and atypical of superstar colleagues. I love things that athletes arent supposed to like, he told Sporting News. Like National Geographic over basketball film sessions or pick-up trucks instead of a Mercedes Benz or cowboy boots over flashy jewelry. You will not see Malone playing golf; he would rather be trucking or fishing. Meeting and fishing with baseball pitching great Nolan Ryan was his biggest sports thrill.

Karl shared many child-like passions in common with his wife Kay. Both are nuts about pro wrestling, tractor pulls and trucking. While better known for delivering big buckets and handling beefy opponents, Malone is also a beefmaster cattle breeder on 52-acre ranch in El Dorado, Arkansas, where a prized purebred animal can be sold for as much as $200,000. Eight years from now when they say, Where is he now? this is where Ill be, Malone once told Ebony.

When Malone was a little boy, he never mentioned the possibility of playing pro basketball, but always dreamed of owning a big truck. In March of 1993, Karl turned his dream into a business: his own trucking companya six-rig fleet called Malone Enterprises! However two years later, he shut down his trucking business due to industry competition and Malones limited involvement with the business.

Basketball is my job, Malone said in Sports Illustrated, but this is my love.Id be lying if I said I didnt like the feeling of being the most powerful thing on the road, yet under control, too. Malone still drives his favorite 18-wheel tractor-trailer, an $190,000 rig that is painted with a rambling, breath-taking panorama of the Old West, with a familiar-looking cowboy riding the range. A runaway truck under control. A Cowboy taming the Old West. Those paradoxical metaphors pretty well describes what Malone is like on and off the basketball court.

Sources

Periodicals

Ebony, Feb 1991, p. 67; Nov 1991, p. 96.

Jet, April 13, 1992, p. 50; Jan 19, 1998, p. 46.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, July 8, 1996, p. 7080233.

Playboy, April 1989, p. 80.

Sport, May 1992, p. 48; Dec 1994, p. 86; March 1996, p. 20; Feb 1998, p. 76.

The Sporting News, Nov 8, 1993, p. 10; Feb 21, 1994, p. 38; April 21, 1997, p. 38.

Sports Illustrated, Jan 14, 1985, p. 88; Nov 7, 1988, p. 72; March 25, 1991, p. 68; April 27, 1992, p. 62; March 17, 1997, p. 101.

Sports Illustrated for Kids, July 1994, p. 14; Dec 1995, p. 25; Nov 1997, p. 40.

Wisconsin State Journal, April 11, 1998, sec D, p. 2, col 1.

Other

Detroit News Online, April 11, 1998.

Dietrich Gruen

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Malone, Karl

Karl Malone

1963

Professional basketball player, entrepreneur

Karl Malone made a 19-season career as professional basketball's premier power forward, scoring points on and off the court as an NBA superstar with the Utah Jazz in all but one season, which he played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone is the only player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to score 2,000 points or more in ten consecutive seasons. At 34 Malone, it seemed, had reached the pinnacle of his career when he won the 1996-97 MVP Award, averaging 27.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He was the oldest MVP in league history, having had a better and more complete year than Michael Jordan, according to some. Remarkably, two years later he won a second MVP after the 1998-99 season. And at age 38 he had a career high of 152 steals. He completed his career with the NBA's second highest scoring list with a career total of 36,928 points, less than 1,500 points behind basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In childhood, Malone was an unlikely superstar. His path to Salt Lake City started in Summerfield, Louisiana, where he was born in 1963. The young Malone grew up scrawny and wild in another town called Mount Sinai. Only a regular "whupping" from his mom kept the little terrorist in line. "I didn't get enough whuppings," Malone laughingly said in Playboy. "If I had gotten more, I probably would have changed sooner than I did," he continued.

When he got his life turned around, Karl built himself up from a scrawny kid and town trouble-maker to become a standout high school basketball player. He led his high school team to three consecutive state titles. But poor grades nearly ruined his chances to play college ball, so at his mother's urging he attended Louisiana Tech and sat out his first year to improve his grades.

Selected by Utah Jazz

Once academically eligible, Malone become a star. He led the school to two NCAA tournament invitations and, according to Playboy, earned his famous nickname from a sportswriter who drove through rough weather to watch Malone play and penned words to this effect: "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, nor double-teaming stopped 'The Mailman' that night." In 1985, The Mailman dropped out of college a year early to turn pro. He's still a year shy of a degree in Elementary Education, but vowed to get his diploma some day. Passed over by a dozen other teams, the Jazz selected him as the 13th pick. Malone quickly showed how wrong the other teams were when he averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds and made the NBA All-Rookie team. In 1997, he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone in the 25,000-point, 10,000-rebound club.

Who is the greatest power forward of all time? Images of past greatness at that position included Bob Pettit, who averaged 26 points and 16 rebounds per game and made the All-Star team in each of his 11 years in the NBA. Dave DeBusschere and Gus Johnson were prototype power forwards who won games with "dirty work"rebound, bang bodies, set picks, block shots, fight, scratch, claw but let others do the scoring. Elvin Hayes, who averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds per game in his first 11 years in the NBA and Spencer Haywood, who also averaged 26 points and 16 boards in his first three years in the NBA showed that a big man could score, not just do the dirty work. But as their game fell off, the scoring power forward became extinctthat is, until Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Kevin McHale came along to resurrect and redefine what coaches call the #4 position.

Malone, who displayed exceptional staying power, in 1996 joined Barkley, Pettit, and Hayes as the only power forwards to post 10 or more 20-point, 10-rebound NBA seasons. Having won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the United States Dream Team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Malone picked up a second gold medal in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics. Three years later, when he renewed his contract for the third time in 1999, he signed for an impressive $66.5 million over four years, to join the most highly paid echelon of players in the NBA. He continued to prove his worth, becoming the NBA's second all-time scorer in 2000 when he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain's career record by collecting 31,443 points; Malone then set an all-time NBA career free throw record of 8,534 successful shots in 2001.

Prepared Himself Physically and Mentally

Malone has been compared to a "raging bull" and a "runaway truck." But that unfairly overlooks the physical preparation and mental discipline that Malone brought to each game. For years, he has punished and polished his 6-foot-9, 256-pound frame into a well-sculpted mass of muscle that tapers to a 31-inch waist with less than 5 percent body fat. His deeply private, year-round training sessions include arduous running drills, high-intensity weight lifting, and brutal StairMaster workouts. His off-season regimen also includes bailing hay on his 50-acre ranch in the steamy heat of an Arkansas summer, just down the road from where he grew up as a kid.

Never good enough to get by on talent alone, Malone was considered the "strongest and best-conditioned basketball player on the planet" according to The Sporting News. He missed just one game in the last eight seasons. Until receiving a one-game suspension in April of 1998, Malone had started 543 consecutive games, the longest consecutive starts streak in the NBA. The secret, Malone said, was mental. "If you find something to give you motivationwhether it's negative or positiveride it. Mine happened to be negative, when people said I wouldn't be a good basketball player," he told Sport.

"My workouts are important to me," Malone told a Sporting News reporter. "I don't do it for fun, and I don't do it for glory. I do it because it's necessary. I feel my strength and endurance give me an advantage, and I want to keep that advantage," he added.

The eighth of eight children to Shirley and J.P. Malone, Karl was raised mostly by his mom. Shirley worked at three jobs, after his dad abandoned the family when Karl was four. He died of bone cancer in 1977. His mother remarried and had another child, his sister Tiffany. Shirley has always been Malone's confidante, his "fishing and hunting buddy," and his moral example. Malone credited his mom with instilling in him "bedrock religion" including the value of hard work and forgiving his father for abandoning him. Karl talks to Shirley before every game. Always and lovingly, he told Playboy, that his mother tells him how many points to get, how many rebounds, how many assists. He'll tell her, "OK, you got 'em!" Then he'd go out and get even more.

At a Glance...

Born Karl A. Malone on July 24, 1963, in Summerfield, LA; eighth of eight children to Shirley (sawmill worker) and J.P. Malone (divorced 1967, died of cancer 1977); stepson of Ed Turner (grocer, plumber); married Kay Kinsey, 1991; children: Kadee, Kylee, and Karl, Jr. Education : Louisiana Tech University, 1981-85.

Career : NBA basketball player, Utah Jazz, 1985-2003; Los Angeles Lakers, NBA basketball player, 2004.

Awards : Member NBA All-Rookie team, 1986; member NBA All-Defensive team, 1988, 1997-1998, 1999; named to NBA All-Star first team, 1989-94 and 1996-98, second team, 1988; recipient NBA All-Star team MVP award 1989, co-recipient, 1993; named to US Olympic Basketball Team, gold medal, 1992 and 1996; voted NBA MVP, 1997; selected by Salt Lake Tribune as its inaugural "Utahan of the Year," 1998; Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award, 1998; voted NBA MVP, 1999.

Addresses: Home Newport Beach, CA.

One blemish on the Mailman's superstar status and fan appeal was that one flagrant foulsome would say intentionally vicious sledge-hammer elbowon Isaiah Thomas in December of 1991. The hit caused Isaiah to get 40 stitches near his eye and Malone a $10,000 fine and one-game suspension. Malone claimed it was an accident and did not mean to hurt Thomas. Right after the incident, he and Isaiah talked it out (no apology given, but a denial that it was deliberate).

In April of 1998, Malone was suspended yet again for a flagrant elbow. The injured victim was David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. He was fined $5,000 and suspended for one game. It ended his starts streak of 543. Malone apologized to Robinson after the game.

Still, the media perpetuated the image of Malone as a villain on the baseline. After a game in which Malone sent Atlanta Hawk Sidney Moncrief sprawling, according to Sports Illustrated, fellow Hawk, Dominique Wilkins stung the Mailman with a rebuke, to this effect: "You're a cheap-shot artist. You're not a man. You always go out there to hurt somebody smaller than you." Not everyone buys the Mailman-as-Villain image. Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson differed in Sports Illustrated, "There's no way I consider him a dirty player. He's physical, throws his body around and does play the enforcer role on that team. But that's not the same thing as being dirty. The main thing a coach asks from his players is to be competitive every minute. And Karl Malone is." According to an informal poll cited by Sports Illustrated, "50% of NBA players consider Malone physical but entirely within the rules, 40% say that he tests the upper limit of physicality too frequently, and 10% believe that he's outright dirty."

Those who believed the worst about Malone usually did not know him away from the game. "People think I'm the meanest guy in the world when I'm on the court, and maybe I am," Malone told Sport magazine. "But off the court I'm a nice guy. When I go home, I'm just Karl, I'm just Daddy," he continued. And not just to his own kids. In the summer of 1995, he befriended 13-year-old cancer victim Danny Ewing. The friendship went both ways, and Karl learned there's more to life than basketball.

Balanced Basketball and Family

An eligible bachelor until 1991, in that year Malone married Kay Kinsey, a former Miss Idaho USA. The couple formed a strong family that Malone relished. "Everybody is a kid to some degree. My father passed away when I was young, and I could never be the kid I wanted to be. Now I have kids [Kadee and Kylee] and I want to be a kid with them. My wife is like the husband and the father. I'm the son my wife and I don't have right now" he commented in Sport. That son, Karl Jr., came along in 1996.

Karl shared many child-like passions in common with his wife Kay. Both are nuts about pro wrestling, tractor pulls and trucking. While better known for delivering big buckets and handling beefy opponents, Malone is also a beefmaster cattle breeder on 52-acre ranch in El Dorado, Arkansas, where a prized purebred animal can be sold for as much as $200,000. "Eight years from now when they say, 'Where is he now?' this is where I'll be," Malone once told Ebony.

When Malone was a little boy, he never mentioned the possibility of playing pro basketball, but always dreamed of owning a big truck. In March of 1993, Karl turned his dream into a business: his own trucking companya six-rig fleet called Malone Enterprises! However two years later, he shut down his trucking business due to industry competition and Malone's limited involvement with the business. "Basketball is my job," Malone said in Sports Illustrated, "but this is my love.... I'd be lying if I said I didn't like the feeling of being the most powerful thing on the road, yet under control, too." Malone still drives his favorite 18-wheel tractor-trailer, an $190,000 rig that is painted with a rambling, breath-taking panorama of the Old West, with a familiar-looking cowboy riding the range.

Malone announced his retirement from professional basketball in 2005. Still physically fit, Malone admitted that he just wasn't mentally up for more of the game. "I look at basketball as 100 percent physically and 100 percent mentally. And if I can't bring you 200 percent, from me, I can't bring you anything," Malone said during his retirement press conference, according to Jet. Although he retired with the most respected playing statistics, some point out that Malone will not be considered truly "great" because he did not win the big onean NBA championship for his team. "I wanted a championship. I'm not going to lie to you. That was my ultimate goal, but that was a team goal. That wasn't an individual goal," Malone admitted to Jet. Even without an NBA championship sports analysts predicted Malone, whose work ethic helped redefine how the game is played and how all-time greatness is measured, would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sources

Periodicals

America's Intelligence Wire, February 14, 2005.

Buffalo News, February 20, 2005, p C8.

Ebony, Feb 1991, p.67; Nov 1991, p. 96.

Jet, April 13, 1992, p. 50; Jan 19, 1998, p. 46; March 7, 2005.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, July 8, 1996, p. 7080233.

Playboy, April 1989, p. 80.

Sport, May 1992, p. 48; Dec 1994, p. 86; March 1996, p. 20; Feb 1998, p. 76.

The Sporting News, Nov 8, 1993, p. 10; Feb 21, 1994, p. 38; April 21, 1997, p. 38; February 25, 2005, p. 67.

Sports Illustrated, Jan 14, 1985, p. 88; Nov 7, 1988, p. 72; March 25, 1991, p. 68; April 27, 1992, p. 62; March 17, 1997, p. 101; February 21, 2005, p. 17.

Sports Illustrated for Kids, July 1994, p. 14; Dec 1995, p. 25; Nov, 1997, p. 40.

Wisconsin State Journal, April 11, 1998, sec D, p. 2, col 1.

On-line

Detroit News Online, www.detnews.com (April 11, 1998).

Dietrich Gruen and Sara Pendergast

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Malone, Karl

Karl Malone

1963-

American basketball player

Karl Malone, a power forward who has been playing basketball with the Utah Jazz since 1985, earned the nickname "The Mailman" early in his career for his ability to deliver the ball to the hoop reliably, under any conditions. The long-time Jazz combination of Malone, the scorer, Malone's co-captain, point guard John Stockton , the passer, and Jerry Sloan, the head coach, is one of the most fearsome in the National Basketball Association (NBA), but despite making the playoffs every year that these men have been playing together, the Jazz has never won an NBA championship.

Hard Work

Malone, the eighth of nine children in a poor but fiercely independent family from a tiny town in northern Louisiana, has never been a stranger to hard work. His mother struggled to earn enough to raise her children, but she never applied for welfare even though the family was eligible. "It was my responsibility to take care of my own children. I believe every tub should sit on its own bottom," she later told Sports Illustrated reporter Craig Neff.

In the early 1980s Malone played college basketball for Louisiana Tech, only a short drive from his family's home in Summerfield. He was not eligible to play as a freshman because his high school grade point average (GPA) of 1.97 was below the 2.0 requirement, but by his junior year of college he saw this as a blessing. After leading his high school basketball team to three consecutive Class C state titles, "I was starting to think that I was better than other people, that I was special and things would just come to me," Malone told Neff. The shock of not being allowed to play forced him to put more effort into his studies, and by his junior year he had the third-highest GPA on the Louisiana Tech team.

Later in life, this willingness to work hard would do much for Malone's NBA career. A forty-eight percent foul shooter as a rookie, he concentrated on improving this aspect of his game and now makes three in four of

his free throws. He is legendary among NBA players for his rigorous training regimen, which includes cutting hay and branding cattle with his brother over the summer, on a ranch in Arkansas that he owns. Malone's teammates are invited to come along, but only one, former Jazz player Ike Austin, ever took him up on it. Austin, a protégé of Malone's who worked his way to a Most Improved Player award in 1997, told Sport magazine's Tom McEachin about one of their summer days together on Malone's ranch. The two got up at 5:00 a.m., spent forty-five minutes on the stair machine, another two-and-a-half hours lifting weights, and a few hours working in the fieldsall before lunch. Then they lifted more weights after lunch. Austin recalled that when they were done "I couldn't lift my arms. When I got back from lifting, I just fell asleep, right there at the table. Everybody was laughing, and Karl was like, man, just go to your room." Malone's hard work has paid off. Since his rookie season he has more than halved his body fat percentage, from over ten percent to an even four.

The Great Team That Couldn't Go All the Way

Malone was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 1985. There he joined Stockton, who had been drafted a year before. The two were a powerful combination. Malone, a hard-driving power forward, was often in a position to score, and Stockton was usually poised to feed him the ball at just the right moment. Malone became the team's leading scorer during his sophomore season, and when Stockton became the team's starting point guard in 1987 he wasted no time breaking the NBA's record for greatest number of assists in a single season. When assistant coach Jerry Sloan was promoted to the head coaching position in 1988, the final piece of this long-lived combination fell into place.

Despite the numerous records broken by Malone and Stockton, the Jazz have never been able to win an NBA championship, despite having made the playoffs every single year. After having been eliminated in the first or second round for many years, the Jazz made its first-ever trip to the Western Conference Finals in 1992. There they were eliminated by the Portland Trail Blazers in six games. The Jazz returned to the Western Conference Finals in 1995, only to be defeated by the Houston Rockets in five games. It took Seattle seven games to beat them in the Western Conference finals in 1996. The next year the Jazz finally made it the whole way to the NBA finals, where they played well but still lost to the Chicago Bulls. They returned to the NBA finals and faced the bulls again in 1998, but again they were defeated. Other notable post-seasons include 1988, when the Jazz forced the eventual NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, to go a full seven games to eliminate them in the second round.

Chronology

1963 Born July 24 to J. P. and Shirley Malone in Summerfield, Louisiana
1977 Father dies of cancer
1984 Cut from the U.S. Olympic basketball team in one of the last rounds
1985 Drafted by the Utah Jazz
1987 Future wife, Kay Kinsey, named Miss Idaho USA
1988 Jazz lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in the seventh game of the second round of the NBA playoffs
1991 Passes commercial driver's license test on the first try, buys a custom-painted trailer, and opens celebrity hauling business Malone Enterprises
1992 Plays on the "Dream Team," the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team
1994 Jazz owner Larry Miller orders coach Jerry Sloan, on national television, to pull Malone from a playoff game due to his poor play
1998 Suspended for one game and fined $5,000 for elbowing Dallas Spurs center David Robinson in the head during a game April 8, ending Malone's consecutive games played streak at 543

Malone the Inspiration

Malone has long been something of an elder statesman in the sport of basketball, serving as an inspiration not only for the younger members of the Jazz but for players across the league. In the summer of 1997 former Denver Nuggets player Bill Hanzlik, who was head coach of the Nuggets for the 1997-98 season, bumped into Malone while he was working out in a Salt Lake City gym. Hanzlik, who had come to town with several of his rookie players to participate in a summer league, thought that it would be an excellent lesson for these young men to see how hard Malone worked, even on a Sunday morning in the off season. Hanzlik woke four players up and brought them back to the health club, where Malone was in the middle of leading a spinning class. After the class was over, Malone spent fifteen minutes talking to these rookies about the devotion and hard work that it takes to be a success in basketball and about how getting caught up in a glamorous lifestyle would only distract them from that work. "That one meeting was worth more than the whole ten days we spent in summer camp," Hanzlik recalled to Tom McEachin of Sport magazine.

"Everybody asks me now: How many more years do you think you can keep up with the young guys?" Malone was quoted as saying by McEachin in 1998. "I ain't seen a young guy catch me yet. Why do I need to start catching up to them?" With this attitude and continued hard work, Malone looks set to continue leading the NBA and inspiring young players well past his fortieth birthday.

Career Statistics

Yr Team GP PTS FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF
UTA: Utah Jazz.
1985-86 UTA 81 1203 .496 .000 .481 8.9 2.9 1.30 .54 279 295
1986-87 UTA 82 1779 .512 .000 .598 10.4 1.9 1.27 .73 237 323
1987-88 UTA 82 2268 .520 .000 .700 12.0 2.4 1.43 .61 325 296
1988-89 UTA 80 2326 .519 .313 .766 10.7 2.7 1.80 .88 285 286
1989-90 UTA 82 2540 .562 .372 .762 11.1 2.8 1.48 .61 304 259
1990-91 UTA 82 2382 .527 .286 .770 11.8 3.3 1.09 .96 244 268
1991-92 UTA 81 2272 .526 .176 .778 11.2 3.0 1.33 .63 248 226
1992-93 UTA 82 2217 .552 .200 .740 11.2 3.8 1.51 1.04 240 261
1993-94 UTA 82 2063 .497 .250 .694 11.5 4.0 1.52 1.54 234 268
1994-95 UTA 82 2187 .536 .268 .742 10.6 3.5 1.57 1.04 236 269
1995-96 UTA 82 2106 .519 .400 .723 9.8 4.2 1.68 .68 199 245
1996-97 UTA 82 2249 .550 .000 .755 9.9 4.5 1.38 .59 233 217
1997-98 UTA 81 2190 .530 .333 .761 10.3 3.9 1.19 .86 247 237
1998-99 UTA 49 1164 .493 .000 .788 9.4 4.1 1.27 .57 162 134
1999-00 UTA 82 2095 .509 .250 .797 9.5 3.7 .96 .87 231 229
2000-01 UTA 81 1878 .498 .400 .793 8.3 4.5 1.15 .77 244 216
2001-02 UTA 80 1788 .454 .360 .797 8.6 4.3 1.90 .74 263 229

CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: c/o Utah Jazz, 301 W. South Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Periodicals

Brody, Robert. "Karl Malone Takes it Personally." Men's Health (February, 1991): 72-75.

Jorgensen, Loren. "Candid Karl." Sporting News (April 20, 1998): 12-15.

"Karl Malone Scores for Kids." Hunting (March-April, 2002): 18.

"Karl Malone Wins Second MVP Award." Jet (June 21, 1999): 48.

Ladson, William. "Karl Malone: The Jazz Superstar Attempts to Get over the Hurt of Last Season." Sport (December, 1994): 86-91.

Lyons, Douglas C. "Karl Malone: The 'Mailman' Delivers." Ebony (February, 1991): 67-69.

"'The Mailman' Third NBA Player to Score 30,000 Points." Jet (February 21, 2000): 18.

McCallum, Jack. "Big Wheel." Sports Illustrated (April 27, 1992): 62-72.

McCallum, Jack. "Getting Straight: His Wife's Illness Forced Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan to Clean Up His Act. Now He's in No Rush to Leave the NBA." Sports Illustrated (February 11, 2002): 46.

McEachin, Tom. "Built from Scratch." Sport (February, 1998): 76-79.

McEachin, Tom. "The Mailman Still Delivers." Basketball Digest (January, 2001): 14.

Neff, Craig. "The Mailman Does Deliver." Sports Illustrated (January 14, 1985): 88-90.

"Utah's Karl Malone Makes NBA History as Member of All-NBA First Team for 11th Time." Jet (June 28, 1999): 46.

"Utah's Malone Sets NBA Free Throw Record." Jet (April 9, 2001): 52.

Vancil, Mark. "Banging and Running, a Routine Night's Work." Sporting News (November 8, 1993): S10-11.

Wiley, Ralph. "Does He Ever Deliver!" Sports Illustrated (November 7, 1988): 72-77.

Other

"Jazz History." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/jazz/history/00400490.html (January 3, 2002).

"Jerry Sloan." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/coachfile/jerry_sloan (January 3, 2002).

"Karl Malone." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/playerfile/karl_malone (November 28, 2002).

Sketch by Julia Bauder

Awards and Accomplishments

Named to the All-NBA First Team eleven times in a row, from 1988-89 through 1998-99, and to the All-Defensive First Team three times in a row, from 1996-97 through 1998-99.
Played in the NBA All-Star game twelve times, including ten consecutive appearances from 1991 to 2001.
Holds the NBA record for most consecutive seasons with over 2,000 points scored, with eleven from 1987-88 to 1997-98.
1986 Named to the NBA All-Rookie Team
1989 Named Most Valuable Player of the NBA All-Star game
1990 Scores a career-high sixty-one points in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks January 27
1992 Named to U.S. Olympic team
1993 Named co-Most Valuable Player (with John Stockton) of the NBA All-Star game
1996 Named to U.S. Olympic team
1996 Selected as one of the fifty greatest players in NBA history
1997 Named Most Valuable Player of the NBA
1997 Named Utahn of the Year by the Salt Lake Tribune
1998 IBM Award
1998 Henry B. Ida award for athletes who go out of their way to help others
1999 Most Valuable Player of the NBA
2000 Became only the third player in NBA history to score 30,000 points in his career

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