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Bits from Karl Malone Interviews

February 25, 2015
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Do you still ball?
No, sir. Not really.

When you were done, you were just done?

Well, the reason I was done, is like this. I felt that Imma give you every ounce I got, when I played, my training in the off-season. I felt like I was gonna do that all the time. So when I finished playing, it’s not gon be a comeback.

I’ve gave you the best respect I can give any fan, as a Karl Malone fan. I’m not gonna play with your emotion going back and forth. I gave you everything I got. Then the next chapter.

Now, I train now because I got some older sons, and they grab old man sometime. And I just wanna be able to fend them off every now and then…You know what, and I’m not gonna play fair. But the thing about it is, the reason I feel like that as an athlete was because when I’m done, I’m done. Life goes on, and you have to know when to say when and go on with your life.

You could have played two more years and broken the scoring record.
OK. Can I tell you something that’s interesting about that? I was the worst free throw player, worst free throw shooter probably ever to start the gam–start, right? How about this? I missed, in my career, 19 years, I missed right at 6,800 free throws. So, you get this? If I made 2,000 [or] 2,400, whatever the number is — if I would’ve shot 70 percent my first five years.

So, but, here’s what my thing is. When the passion left, when I was more concerned about who was refereeing the game, no, no, because I had to adjust my game to their style of calling. “Oh, you big and strong. You want to us call every foul?” Yeah, if he foul at the time. Why do you think I spent time in the weight room? To impose my will on you.

So, my thing is, when it became a job — it’s called playing basketball. And when it became a job, it was time for me to move on…

I went to the Lakers my last year. Would not have changed that for anything. That’s how I wanted. I wanted to write my ending. I got hurt, ok, but how this sound? I tell people all the time, if you don’t have failure, your success gon be hit and miss. But if you have true failure, you understand.

August of probably the biggest year in my career, going to another team, my mom died suddenly of a heart attack. Right? So I get hurt. Hindsight, I don’t know if I could’ve handled that if I didn’t have such adversity. It was the worst thing ever.

I went, I was bitter. Why can’t I walk on the beach here at Newport Beach, and watch three sets of parents still alive, drinking wine out of a bottle, smoking cigars? My mom didn’t do any [of that]. So, I went through all of that…

I’m a southern Baptist. I had a question just about every day for six month, and I got the same answer from God every time. I said, “God, why me?” And God responded me, the response to me was, “Take your worst enemy, right, that you don’t like, would you want him or her to feel like you feel right now? Why not you?” You see what I’m saying? So people can sit here and talk all they want to. That’s the answer I got every single time.

You had a little issue with Kobe Bryant…
We had a little issue. But here’s the thing about it. I’m a grown man, right? Kobe’s a grown man too. That’s how man do it. If you go the other route, you kinda go down in my book a little bit. Now, are we cool? I don’t hold grudges.

Have you spoken to him since you left the Lakers?

Uh, “Wassup?” (head nod) … Look, you walking down this hall, I’m walking down this hall, I know what you said about me. (head nod) “What up?” That’s it. Meaning, what up now, however way you wanna go with it, but what up? (head nod) I acknowledge you.

Do you feel tension when you see him?

I don’t feel tension…Really and truly how deep it is, you have the problem. I don’t. ‘Cause, I love western. I’m old-school west. Back in the day when you had a beef, you didn’t go get guns or knive. You just, “Hey, I got a problem.” We just go in the back with no cameras, no nothing, and let’s just knuckle up and get it over with.

Did you make that offer to Kobe?

No, but it’s standing.

Did Kobe ever come to you in a way that made you think he wanted to fight?

Not really, but hey. You know, here’s what I say to you. I don’t have a problem. And people say whatever they wanna say and that’s great. I’m 6-9, 272, to be exact. I’m not hard to find. I don’t want no trouble, but w–if it got, if something gotta go down, I’m not playing fair. We gotta get down though, we gotta get down. I’m just telling you.

How do you think you’d do in today’s NBA?
Since we’re on that subject: I think one of the biggest things with me right now is young guys that’s taking rest. I understand coach [Gregg] Popovich, ’cause I love him to death and he grandfathered in, and he won a championship and all that. But you turn on the TV now, this guy’s out for rest. A young guy that ain’t did nothing, right? What you resting for, right?

And my thing is, I love to see good basketball, and I might be axing too much at this: I want young men to play hard. That’s all I want. [Today’s NBA is] you score this time, I score this time. I’m sorry. Look, I love, LeBron Jame’, I love watching him…

I’m sorry, you on another team now. I know I won two championship with you and all that, but we gonna catch up some other time…

My mom always used to say to me, “Karl, I got a question for you. Now, remember now, your mom old, gray-head lady.”

I said, “Yes ma’am.”

She said, “Would you hit your mom if I was on the opposite team playing against you?”

Now, I looked closer to her, I said, “I wouldn’t hit you as hard.” But that’s how my mom taught me, my grandpa taught me. Impose your will, play clean. (Huffington Post)

Karl Malone and the Dallas Mavericks
I would like to get something that have haunted me for a lotta years. I must admit something, all right? I really and truly was so disappointed that the Mavericks didn’t draft me. Now, it worked out great for me in Utah, so I would like to come clean here and say something. I must admit for my first 10 years playing against the Mavericks, I wanted to beat them really bad. I got to say that and get it off my chest.

Why’d you want to play for the Mavs so bad?

Because they had me out, when they didn’t have no restrictions, seven to eight times before the draft to the point that I was just convinced they were gonna draft me. But they didn’t. But I must admit, that’s, and I wanted to be closer to home. So, but, you know what? I still was close to home, I just went to Utah, which, if we were still in New Orleans, that would’ve been perfect too.

But I just always, growing up, wanted to play for the Mavericks if I had an opportunity to play at the next level. They didn’t [draft me], so it hurt my feelings for about 10 years, but it worked out unbelievable for me in Utah, as you know. (105.3 The Fan)

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