Thursday, September 15, 2011

Karl Malone

Karl Malone Mix

Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963), nicknamed "The Mailman", is a retired American professional basketball power forward who spent the majority of his career with the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Malone spent his first 18 seasons (1985–2003) with the Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton. He played his final season (2003–04) with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Malone grew up in rural Summerfield, Louisiana and played college basketball at Louisiana Tech University. In his three seasons with Louisiana Tech, he helped the Bulldogs basketball team to its first-ever NCAA tournament in 1984 and to first place in the Southland Conference in 1985. The Jazz drafted Malone in 1985 with the 13th overall pick in the first round.
Having scored 36,298 points in his career, the second most career points in NBA history, and holding the record for most free throws both attempted and made, Malone is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards. In 1997 and 1999, Malone won the NBA Most Valuable Player award. Malone appeared in the playoffs every season in his career, including three NBA Finals: in 1997 and 1998 with the Jazz and in 2004 with the Lakers. Internationally, Malone competed with the United States national team in the Summer Olympic games of 1992 and 1996; in both years he won gold medals. After retiring from the NBA, Malone joined the staff of the Louisiana Tech basketball team in 2007 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Born in Summerfield, Louisiana, Malone was the youngest boy of nine children and during his childhood lived in a farm with his single mother Shirley. His father Shedrick Hay was raising a family with another woman he married and committed suicide when Karl Malone was 14; Malone first disclosed that suicide in 1994. As a child, Malone often worked at the farm and chopped trees, hunted, and fished. He attended the local Summerfield high School and led its basketball team to three consecutive Louisiana Class C titles from 1979 to his senior season in 1981. Although recruited by University of Arkansas basketball coach Eddie Sutton, Malone enrolled at Louisiana Tech University, which was closer to home. He joined the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs basketball team in his second year because his grades were too low for freshman eligibility; Malone played under coach Andy Russo.In his second season with Louisiana Tech (1983-1984), Malone averaged 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Louisiana Tech would finish the 1984-1985 season 29-3, at the top of the Southland Conference, and advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history; the team finished at the Sweet 16 round. In each of his three seasons with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Malone was an All-Southland selection
In the 1985 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz chose Karl Malone with the 13th overall pick. According to Malone's official NBA biography: "If professional scouts had correctly predicted the impact Karl Malone would have on the NBA, Malone would have been picked much higher than 13th in the 1985 NBA Draft."Under head coach Frank Layden, Malone averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds in his first season and made the 1986 NBA All-Rookie Team after coming in third for Rookie of the Year votes.On January 14, 1986, the Jazz beat the Houston Rockets 105-102 to snap the Rockets' 20-game winning streak. Malone scored 29 points that game, including four free throws followed by a three-pointer by Pace Mannion to rally from a 96-89 deficit with 5 minutes and 36 seconds remaining to a 96-96 tie.For the third consecutive season, the Jazz made the postseason but lost the first round of the 1986 playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks. In the four playoff games, Malone improved in his scoring with a 20 points per game average but was still subpar in shooting (49.6% field goals) and rebounds (8.9). After his second season, Malone became the Jazz' leader in average scoring (21.7 points) and rebounding (10.4 rebounds); in 24 of 29 games between February 1 and April 3, 1987, he was the leading scorer of the game.
By the 1987–88 season, Malone was the foundation of the offense and John Stockton was the floor general. Malone made his first All-Star Game in 1988 on the strength of 27.1 points per game, and made his first All-NBA team at the end of the season. This was the first of 14 consecutive All-Star appearances for Malone In the 1988 NBA All-Star Game, Malone led the Western Conference All-Star team with 22 points. The Jazz finished 47–35, third place in the Midwest Division, and defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. In the next round, the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers, led by perennial All-Stars Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, defeated the Jazz in seven games. In the seventh game of the series, Malone scored 31 points and made 15 rebounds, but the Lakers beat the Jazz 109-98 and would eventually win the 1988 NBA Finals. In 11 playoff games in 1988, Malone averaged 29.7 points and 11.8 rebounds
Malone signed a 10-year contract during the 1988 offseason worth $18 million. In December 1988, Jerry Sloan succeeded Layden as head coach as Layden became team president. Malone averaged 29.1 points in 1988–89, good for second in the NBA behind Michael Jordan, and 10.7 rebounds, which was fifth in the league. This scoring average was Malone's highest so far in his career. At the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, Malone finished with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists en route to his first All-Star MVP. The Jazz finished 51–31, but were swept in three games in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. This season marked Malone's first with the All-NBA First Team honor.

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