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Stockton-to-Malone Leftovers Odds and Ends: Points of Commonality

September 4, 2010

Karl and John came from opposite backgrounds on opposite corners of the country. Karl and Jerry came from the same background (youngest of 9 or 10 children, raised by single mom, in the country).

What made these three click as well as they did, for as long as they did?

There was this:

“Jerry Sloan, John Stockton, and Karl Malone were the three scariest guys I ever saw. They were just haunted by how badly they wanted to win.” — Mark Heisler, LA Times

There was the intolerance for pain and contempt for injury. I’ve posted about this in the past, and will do so again in the near future (one more “Leftovers” post waiting in the wings). This goes for Jerry too…but that story deserves its own post.

There was also this and this:

Bloody Driveway/Backyard Battles and Sibling Rivalry
[Stockton] grew up playing basketball with his brother, Steve, four years older, on a sloping driveway in front of the Stockton home in Spokane, Wash. “Those were rough games and I’d get knocked around, and I’d get knocked around when I played in other games in the neighborhood,” Stockton said. “And I remember when I was in the sixth or seventh grade, and I came home crying, my father said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t play with those boys, maybe they’re too rough.’ He said it in a kindly way, but it made me take it as a challenge. Maybe I was stupid, but I went back out to show them I could play.” (NY Times)

When Karl was 12, he and his older brother put up a backboard in the backyard, where the Mailman learned a few lessons about the x’s and o’s of real life, not to mention rank sibling rivalry.

“My brother used to rough me up on purpose,” said Malone, who started loading hay and working in chicken houses at the same time. “I would shoot the ball and he would hit me for no reason. I would cry and he would say, ‘You little sissy.’ I would be fighting mad all the time. I always think back to the times I never beat him, the times I let down and he’d take advantage of it.” (“Special Delivery,” Clay Latimer)

Wish Lists of Country Kids
As a 9-year-old, Sloan recalled that his Christmas wish list included a tractor, a basketball and a truck. Sloan is 55 now, but hasn’t changed much. (desnews)

“I have a farm [in McLeansboro, IL] and I’ve added to it over the years,” Sloan said. …”I like the country. It’s where I’ll always be, I guess.” (desnews)

When Malone was a little boy, he never mentioned the possibility of playing pro basketball, but he often told his mother, Shirley, “Mama, I’m going to own me a big truck someday.” Now he does, though “big truck” hardly does justice to the striking piece of machinery that composes, at present, the entire fleet of Malone Enterprises, celebrity hauler. (SI)

“I think it’s known that I love the outdoors, I love to hunt. … I’m from north Louisiana. I’m proud of it. I’m country. I love it. This is me.” (Karl Malone’s HOF speech)

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