Happy Birthday Mailman
Karl Malone was back in town over the weekend for his birthday (or, as it’s more commonly known in Utah, Pioneer Day. Side Note: Can you believe the Mailman is 47???). I’ve watched and read a couple of interviews he did with various media outlets, and I came away amazed at his humility and groundedness. I also think that he has a newfound peace that he didn’t necessarily have before. My five favorite quotes/stories from the weekend:
1. Karl is excited and honored about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but not excited about limos and red carpets and that sort of thing. He has every intention of taking a Yellow Cab if they send a limo.
[Me: I love him. LOVE him.]
Karl also said, “It’s not about the Utah Jazz. It’s not about Karl Malone. It’s about the state. I want for a brief moment–good, bad, indifferent, like me, don’t like me–I want the people here in Utah to realize that it’s their moment as well. It ain’t just mine.”
As for his speech, he plans on keeping it short and sweet so that he doesn’t cry, but he knows he will when he mentions his mom. (KALL)
2. “Some of the referees weren’t any good then, and hell they still aren’t now.” (KALL)
But Malone always reported for work. He missed only nine games in 18 years with the Jazz–some due to suspension–and says he hated missing every one. He remembers spraining an ankle so seriously in a game that he crawled to the bathroom that night, yet played the following day.
Nowadays, he said, that sort of thing doesn’t happen so often.
“A strain?” he said, speaking of players in general today. “What’s a strain?” (Deseret News)
4. “I never, ever thought that I was the most talented player when I stepped on the court, but on the flip side, I never thought that one guy out there that I was going against outworked me. I tried to play like the every day person went to work. I tried to play hard every single time, whether it’s for the person that paid $2-3000 on the floor, or for the person up there that paid $20-25. I tried to play hard for them.” (ABC4)
5. He has a huge collection of NBA memorabilia at Karl Malone Toyota, including a complete set of game-worn, autographed, Gatorade-stained Dream Team jerseys. Karl says that his wife, Kay, went around collecting them in Barcelona like she was at a garage sale, and he was puzzled why she was doing that because she was never the biggest basketball fan. Said Kay, “One of these days, you’ll appreciate it.” It should be mentioned that this is the only (game-worn?) set of Dream Team jerseys in the world. (KALL)
For more, go here.
The public was invited to his birthday celebration at Karl Malone Toyota. I wish so badly I was in Utah. Miss him. Miss him tons.
UPDATE / From Karl’s interview on SportsBeat Sunday:
–When asked if there was anything he would’ve done differently in his career, Karl said, “I would’ve did more in the community.” [And those that were following the Jazz back then know Karl did plenty as a Jazzman--paying off mortgages for sick families, fixing houses, visiting sick kids (and forming friendships with them--remember Danny Ewing? In my mind, I can still see Karl walking into the tunnel after the game, stopping in front of Danny, and giving Danny his jersey), etc.]
–A few teams have approached him about coaching their big men, but he has not accepted so far. The Jazz are not one of those teams. WTF? Can you imagine what kind of player Al Jefferson could become if he had Karl coaching him, especially given Karl’s familiarity with the system? Deron said that he would make AJ an All-Star; Karl could make him a Hall of Famer. Utah Jazz Front Office: If Karl is willing, you should get on this right now.