Bits from Karl Malone’s “Through My Eyes” — 6/13
I hate listening to “grandpa stories” in real life, but I could listen to Karl Malone tell grandpa stories all the live-long day.
On Holding Grudges
** I didn’t hold grudges, [but] I do remember one guy that I never was able to get back that gave me a cheap shot, and that was Terry Porter. Out of all the people that ever, ever I wanted to get back, it was Terry Porter. …
I never forget it, we was in Minnesota. And we had scored on them every time. Terry Porter, being the veteran, just hit me right below the belt, and I doubled over. And I tell you what, Danny Crawford, to this day, I look at Danny different, because he saw what [Porter] had done. I get the ball, I take five or ten steps, and take a timeout myself, and he did not call a travel, ’cause he had knew what happened.
And Terry Porter, here’s what I used to do to him, everybody. I used to send a message over by ballboy and tell Terry, “Tonight is your night, son.” And I used to always do that to him. I never held grudges, but I really wanted to get him back.
David Robinson Joins the Show
** [Hans Olsen says his first memory of the Dream Team was David’s physique. He then begins expressing admiration for David’s physique and asks, “Is your dad built like you? Is this genetic? Did you have a very strict eating policy?”]
DR: That’s funny. You’re right there with Karl, and Karl has the best body in the NBA and even now, he probably has a better body than anybody in the NBA. And you’re asking me about my regime.
KM: I remember the first time I saw you. I was like, “Where did this guy come from? What the…” I must admit it. I said to myself, “Are you kidding me? I gotta do some more work here.”
DR: I’ll tell you where it came from. When I went to the Naval Academy, my first year I showed up there as a freshman. I was 6’7″, 172 lbs. And I remember I played my first year, the Washington Post wrote an article about me. The guy from the Washington Post said, “This Robinson kid looks like he has some promise, but at times he looks painfully frail…and he looks like a swizzle stick in a blender.” So I cut that article out and I pasted that up on my wall and I said, “Man, nobody will ever call me a ‘swizzle stick in a blender’ again.”
KM: When you see a tall guy that work out, you know it right away. It’s no shame in my game, the first time I saw you, I’m like, “Are you kidding me? He four, five inches taller than me and how did he do that?” So I start trying to [ask] people, “Tell me what he do in the summertime.” …
DR: I never really could gain weight. I went through couple summers, I tried to eat 7,000 calories a day, and I just physically could not eat that much food. I just don’t have that kind of an appetite. But just working out, I knew I was 25, 30 lbs. smaller than every other center that I was playing against, so I had to be stronger and in better shape.*
*Is anyone else thinking of Jeremy Evans?! As a freshman David Robinson was about the same height as Evans but weighed 20 lbs. less!
** [David’s favorite part of the Dream Team experience] It was spending time with the guys. Getting to know guys like Karl and John. Like Karl said, when you’re playing against each other, you don’t have a whole lot of love lost for one another. You’re beating on each other all day long, and you’re fighting for the same prize…so I got a chance to really get to know them. My boys were hanging out with John’s kids, and that to me was the best, ’cause I saw these guys as men. I saw Karl in the weight room, working out like a maniac. I said, “OK, that’s why this guy push me around like that.” And so, that was the best part to me because now we have a lifelong friendship that was born just out of that experience and the opportunity to share the way we did.
** [What David remembers most about the games] The games were a bit of a blur, to be honest with you. We weren’t really challenged at any point. I think they were almost a little bit anti-climactic, with those practices in between. That was the most fun. The thing that stuck out to me was being able to watch [opponents’] reactions at the beginning of the game, when they came up. They would be taking pictures, and wanting to hug us. And I was thinking, “What in the world…”
KM: David, you saying what I saying. We looked at each other and said, they beat already.
DR: [I was like,] are they trying to psych us out or something? What is going on?
** [Bill Riley to DR] You might want to hang up quick after you answer. Who’s the greatest power forward of all time?
[The rest of this is just Karl and David laughing and talking over one another.]
KM [talking over DR]: David, David, Da–, just, David, David, just go and hang up please.
DR: You know what? Hey, Karl, hey, your career was phenomenal. Nobody, not even my man Tim [Duncan], will put up numbers like yours. You career was phenomenal. But hey, I gotta go with– (starts laughing)
KM: David, please, look, David, please don’t say it. Please don’t say it, David. Leave it alone.
DR: I’m just going to leave it at that…I’m just going to say, man, I would be crucified in this town and I would be crucified by my friends if I didn’t stand my ground on this one.
KM: Don’t say it. I understand, David.
Karl Talking Dream Team
** [The only sets of game-worn jerseys in the world from the 1992 and 1996 Dream Teams were collected by Kay Malone, and can be found at Karl Malone Toyota in Draper.]
KM: When she first start collecting them, I was like, “What the heck? You getting all of them sweaty uniforms?!” And I remember her looking at me and saying, “You know what, baby? One of these days, you gonna appreciate it” and I’m like, “No I won’t.”
And I remember when the Olympic was over with, we hadn’t even washed them. You know what that smell like. They was ripe. I just remember when it was all over with, and I’m looking at all of them, that’s when it hit me. It hit me then.
** On Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic torch in 1996: To see Muhammad Ali fight through [his Parkinson’s] and light that torch, let me just tell you something. I know I’m a man but when I’m hurt, I cry. I’m sensitive. I cry when Free Willy jumped over the thing…when Muhammad Ali fought and took his other hand to light that torch, holding his other hand, I got goosebumps and I teared up a little bit because that was awesome to me.
** Closest friend on the Dream Team not named John Stockton: Well I always love and respect Charles [Barkley], so that was a given. But I would say the guy I really got to know that was just like I thought he was, was Scottie Pippen. I would have to say Scottie was the guy that I really became close with, and Chris Mullin.
** Gold medal ceremony: I did the corniest thing that I never thought I would do. The national anthem played, and you see every athlete–what do every athlete do with the gold medal? They bite on it. I’m sitting there saying to myself, “Gah, that is so dorky. You gonna bite on it and do what?” And then, all of a sudden, what do I do? I bit on it…So I just remember when I bit on it, I’m like, “Karl Malone, that it is the dorkiest thing you ever done.”
** Olympic gold vs. other achievements: It’s not even the same and it’s not even close, but it’s one of the few times of my life that I really felt that I was serving my country the best I could at the time. Now, it’s not military. I’m not trying to paint that same picture. But far as the magnitude of the whole world–we’re not just talking about Utah or that one year I played [redacted]–we talking about the whole world. Everybody was watching, and for that brief second, it just felt like we accomplished something for the whole United States of America.
Teresa Weatherspoon Joins the Show
** TW on whether athletes should get paid to play in the Olympics: I speak for myself…I don’t need the green dollar bill to be paid to play the sport which I love and to play for my country. I disagree with that totally. I enjoyed people wanting me to represent my country, being one of the 12 best. That was pay enough. And once you get on that scene, it gives you the platform to do even more away from that platform, so therefore your pay come after playing in that United States of America uniform.