The Wonderfulness That Is Karl Malone, Talking
There is just nothing better than unadulterated, uncensored Karl Malone. (Interview/show was conducted at Karl’s used car outlet and broadcast on 1280 The Zone.)
Think it was Basketball John that once said transcribing Karl interviews would break Word. This was transcribed true to Karl so if you are reading this to learn mainstream English and/or you are an online spelling Nazi in your free time, don’t.
** The show was periodically interrupted by Karl stopping to sign autographs (H/T @SuperHooper801), reading texts out from his kids, giving shoutouts to his family, and taking off his shoes because it was too hot.
** Karl did refer to himself in the third person a few times and every time he quoted Jerry Sloan he did it in a “Jerry voice.”
** The awesomeness that was Karl starting to swear and catching himself, and then eventually giving up and saying whatever he wanted.
** Love that he continues to refer to the Jazz using “our” and “we.”
** He clearly watches a lot of Jazz games as he’s really familiar with current Jazz players and their strengths and weaknesses.
On David Stern
I just love him. He’s my favorite. My nose growing. But anyway…
Future in Coaching
I think Coach Sloan will coach again in the NBA. / [Would you be an assistant coach?] Absolutely…I would love to, with Coach Sloan.
Utah and How Black People Don’t “Snow-Ski”
It’s nothing you could say or do to me in life, no one or nothing, can keep me from being in Utah and coming to Utah and eventually one day moving back to Utah to some capacity. No doubt…I come to Utah a couple of times a month…We vacation here. Matter of fact, we be back in a week and a half to, black people don’t snow-ski, so I won’t be snow-skiing. We’ll be snowmobiling and all that.
Once the Delta Center, Always the Delta Center
[What do you think when you walk into EnergySolutions Arena and see–] Delta Center. All due respect to those guys, the radiation company, whatever, it’s Delta Center to me.
Can Utah Attract and Keep Superstars? And, Jimmer
The issue is keeping [star players]. Think about it. Every time they turn the TV on, they’re broadcasting South Beach and LA. They doing all that, and all their friends are telling them that. No, [Utah] won’t get a [free agent] superstar…
Now, is there [a future star] in college that’s not on the radar now that could say, “I love outdoor, I love hunting and fishing, I love the Utah community,” could be a Mormon?…Jimmer Fredette, are you kidding me? I’m a fan. But anyway, a kid like that? I know he probably went early, but how do you not try to get a kid like that?…
What I think they said was, “He don’t play defense.” I know you want to play defense, but hell if I shoot like that, you play defense. [So will you go to the Kings game tomorrow and clap for Jimmer?] No. It’s the jersey. He got the wrong damn jersey on. I’m saying I like him, but absolutely no. No, I’m not clapping for him.
The Luxury of Time is not a Luxury the Jazz Have
You don’t have the luxury to draft projects at the third, fourth, fifth, first, second pick…But you don’t have the time, or who do you have? No disrespect to staff currently in place. Who do you have that can work with that big guy? No disrespect to the coaching staff, ’cause I love Scott Layden. Love ‘em all. But when you draft a kid like that, in essence your franchise is hinging on this.
You don’t have the luxury for that. Am I making sense? [Did they contact you and ask you…] Oh no, no. We done been there. You can’t beat the fart out of a dead mule. Let’s pass on that. They ain’t gonna call. That ain’t cursing either…
And I’m just being honest, don’t let it surprise you if they jump ship, really and truly, because every guy that come here, yeah he’s glad to be in the NBA and they’re gonna say all the right thing. They glad the Jazz draft him, they love the fact that the Jazz–but they got a agent back there telling you how great you are and you getting screwed in Utah and nobody know who you are in Utah and all of that. You buying into it, buying into it, now you become a free agent. That’s what I’m saying. You don’t have the time to develop [projects].
Relationship with John Stockton
We had the most unbelievable
function connection on the court. We didn’t even think about it. That started from the Olympic tryouts when he got cut by Bobby Knight and I got cut by Bobby Knight. Personally, Nada and Stock is the godparent to our daughter Kadee and we’re the godparent, me and my wife, to Samuel, their last son. Our friendship and family connections is from now til the end. But we have differences. I’m an outdoorsman to the core, to the heart. I carry a knife all the time. That’s just part of me. Stock is more into wildlife saving, if there’s such a word. I’m more into the wildlife management part of it, but it take both. …
Stock would fish. He love fishing, by the way. People don’t know that. We had one of the most unbelievable
function trips ever when we went to see him and we went fishing. Trust me, Stock know how to do it right. So we went fishing and had a great time. I have to say the rest, ’cause he’ll rub it in. [in Stock voice] “And you say you’re this big-time fisherman.” He out-fished me that day. The fishing and hunting god would punish me if I don’t tell the truth, but he did out-fish me that day.
John and Karl go fishing together. I am just big blob of warm fuzzy right now.
Training and Conditioning
I didn’t want to leave anything to chance that I wasn’t conditioned and trained enough. I didn’t train for 48 minutes. I trained my body and my mind and myself for a game and a half just in case it went into overtime. [Also, when his family went on vacation his wife had to call ahead to make sure wherever they were going, he could adjust the temperature up in the gym.]
To this day, I’m still somewhat consumed with working out. I refuse to show up at an event, I refuse to go to a All-Star Game or something, and somebody say, “Wow, look at his–“
Karl Never Wanted To Go To L.A. (*not that that ever happened*)
I was in Arkansas, and I said whatever team win, I’m going to the opposite. And I wanted the Spurs to lose, so I could go to them. But the [Spurs] won, but I had made up my mind ’cause I didn’t want people sitting there saying, “Oh he went there [because] they won it last year.” I wanted to go help ‘em.
Dick Bavetta and the Howard Eisley 3
We’re playing in Spokane, Washington against the Seattle Supersonics [during the ’98-’99 preseason]. Stockton and myself as captains, Gary Payton as a captain. Dick Bavetta was in the center talking to Stock and I…Gary Payton left.
[Bavetta] said, “Karl, stop. Come here a second.” He said, “Guys, I have had the worst summer I’ve had in my life that I [waved off Howard Eisley’s 3-pointer in Game 6 of the ’98 NBA Finals] in that game.” He said, “My summer have been shit, uh, hell.” Imma tell you that happened, and it came from Dick Bavetta. Now, if somebody say it didn’t happen, they lying and they bullshitting. That’s real. But, but, well, I said it already. Shit.
[Isiah Thomas said he needed 40 stitches and he might’ve gone blind after this.] Well, first of all, he’s lying about being blinded. Probably what he drank or smoked the night before.
I’m actually 6’8″.
What? What? What? 6’8″???? The foundations of my childhood are crumbling. “The Mailman. 6’9″, 265.” That was written all over my Trapper Keeper.
** He didn’t leave on his own terms. He left classy, a lot classier than probably I woulda I’m sure.
** John Stockton refused to call one play. You talking about a team player. So you got a John Stockton, never broke a play. Never came over to Coach Sloan and said, “Look, this gonna work.” Now, me and John would tell him this and he would look at us like, [in Jerry voice] “Who the coach?” “You, coach.” [in Jerry voice] “Run it now.” And it work. [in Jerry voice] “See, I told you.”
The Build-Up Leading to Jerry’s Resignation
A point guard by the name of Allen Iverson used to be in Philadelphia. And whenever he didn’t want to do something, he would call the GM…I know for a fact, knowing Coach Sloan, when we getting our butt kicked, we practice. I know for a fact that he was overridden on practices sometime on the road ’cause Deron was calling our GM [at] that time…
And that defining moment when [management and ownership] shoulda stood up for Jerry Sloan, they chose Deron Williams. And Coach Sloan, being the coach I know and love, said “You know what? We should part ways.” And he said what he said. And once Coach Sloan say something, it’s history…It was a build-up. You guys gotta understand, [there was] a history. It’s a build-up.
On Deron Williams
Deron did great things in the community. I know that. That’s what I want to [say] first. One of the most talented guards that worked to make himself a great All-Star. Worked on his shooting, couldn’t shoot a jump shot, all of that. Have the ability to make every player on his team better…
You give a guy that much power, and he’s the kind of player you think he played hard all the time, but if he wanted to sulk he could sulk. A point guard can do whatever they want to ’cause they got the ball all the time…it was the perfect storm going on there. It really was. He’s talented, [active] in the community, we don’t want to lose him.
What you have to be very careful of, Larry and I had a very unique situation, but not one time I use that call. I took my butt to practice, I did what I’s supposed to do, when I was wrong I said it. Didn’t want to all the time but I did. But I never would, well I couldn’t go past Larry anyway, but I never went to Larry to talk about Coach Sloan. Was our practices sometime tired as he–heck and all of that and didn’t want to practice and thought some bad things about Coach Sloan when I was out there practicing hard? Yes. And did he stare at me and I stare at him? Yes. But it’s not one time in my gut and heart that I would go over his head.
Assessment of Ownership and Management
Well, now it’s good because you got guys that’s playing for a coach. The handling of that whole [Jerry/Deron] situation there, I have to give you a D or D- if there’s such a thing…On the whole handling of that, I would have to give you a D or F. And I would lean more toward a F but I give you a D- because I love the Jazz. Now, they wish we weren’t talking about it. But that’s something that’s been in my craw, been in yours, and a lot of other people that we’re talking about it.
In Case There’s Any Doubt…
Everything I said during this interview, I approve this message…I don’t want nobody calling me and saying, “Did he really mean that?” Yes I did.
I love Karl. So, so, so, so, so much.