NBA 75 Series: #16 Karl Malone by DJ Hamilton


    Ranked at #16 of my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time is one of best physical specimens in league history who formed a dangerous pick-and-roll combo with John Stockton, and is one of the greatest scorers and power forwards in NBA History, Karl Malone. Malone was born on July 24th, 1963, in Summerfield, Louisiana, being the youngest of nine children to a single mother while living on a farm. His father, Shedrick Hay would have a family with another woman and sadly commit suicide when Malone was three years of age. Malone would learn discipline at a very young age by chopping trees, hunting, and fishing during his childhood. He attended Summerfield High School who led his basketball team to three consecutive Louisiana State Class C titles from 1979 to 1981. Malone would go on to play for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs his sophomore year because his grades were too low his freshman season to play, which deemed him ineligible. During his junior season, Malone would average 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 1983-84. During the 1984-85 season, Malone helped lead the Bulldogs to a 29-3 record, sitting at the top of the Southland Conference and helped them advance to their first NCAA Tournament in school history, where they would lose in the Sweet Sixteen. He would be named an All-Southland selection in each of his three seasons as a Bulldog. Malone would go on to be selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He would go on to average 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds his rookie year to help him be selected to the 1986 All-Rookie First Team. Ultimately, Malone would go on to be fairly criticized for not coming up in the clutch despite his nickname being “ The Mailman” but Malone was one of the most durable and strongest players to ever grace an NBA floor. Alongside Stockton, they formed the most dangerous pick-and-roll duo in NBA history. He’s the third all-time leader in scoring with 36,374 points and scored 2,000 or more points a record 12 seasons, including 11 in a row. He’s a two-time MVP (1997, 1999), 14-time All-Star, 14-time All-NBA, four-time all-defense, and a two-time All Star Game MVP. Malone also has two gold medals, with one being on the iconic 1992 Dream Team and had back to back NBA Finals appearances, sadly coming up short both times to the Jordan-led Bulls. He was a freight train on the fastbreak and was an iron man. His longevity and production, along with his two MVPs make him the second greatest power forward ever behind Tim Duncan and ahead of guys such as Kevin Garnett, who on any given day I might put over Malone but for this list I didn’t and believe he’s over Dirk Nowitzki and Charles Barkley. He is sadly exiled by the media and should be commemorated more on his illustrious career as a player.