Sportsbeat Sunday, I realized how much I loved and still love the Mailman.
It was an absolute pleasure watching Karl Malone play, and I harbor absolutely no ill will. Even when he whined about not being appreciated, even when he complained that it didn’t rain enough in Utah, even when he left the team to go to the hated Lakers, I never stopped loving the big guy.
Karl Malone was the best power forward in the history of the game. He totally transformed the position on both sides of the ball. He was as solid as the Straits of Gibraltar, and he had a shot smoother than China silk. His fade-away was a thing of beauty, and he absolutely perfected the hammer dunk.
The one hand behind the head jam.
The one-armed blindfold jam.
The rare-but-powerful two handed slamma jamma.
They were all gold.
And his offense was only part of the story. He defended the crap out of everyone that dared enter his personal area. While his teammates, most notably Greg Ostertag, cowered like little she-birds, The Mailman chopped down foes like David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman with ease.
Barkley, in fact – and this is true – used to switch positions to small forward every time his team played the Jazz so he wouldn’t have to face the Karl “The Solid Granite Wrecking Machine” Malone.
I loved Malone when he played for the Jazz, and unlike most Jazz fans I even loved him when he went to the Lakers. He needed a ring, and I understood that. I bid him good luck in his journey, and I was heartbroken when he came up short.
I still maintain, by the way, that he would have gotten that ring if the rest of his team had half the heart he did. And if he would have stayed healthy that year.
Anyway, Karl, this one’s for you. Keep living the good old life, and I’ll give you a call if I ever own an NBA team in the future. I would take you in a heartbeat, AARP membership and all.
It’s true: From his Rogaine down to his LA Gear Catapults, I love the Mailman.