- Height: 6' 9"
- Weight: 256 lbs.
- Date Of Birth: July 24, 1963
- Hometown: Summerfield, Louisiana
- College: Louisiana Tech University
- Mascot: Tech XIX the bulldog
- High School: Summerfield High School
- Position: Power Forward (PF)
- Draft: 1st round, 13th overall, Utah Jazz, 1985
Karl Malone’s list of accomplishments and honors is quite long. However, Malone has one very noticeable accomplishment missing from his fantastic career: a championship. Considered to be one of the best power forwards in NBA history, Malone is also regarded as one of the best basketball players in history without a championship. A massive man, known for his consistent and physical play, Malone had a prolific basketball career.
Malone was born on July 24, 1963 in Summerfield, Louisiana. After high school, he attended Louisiana Tech University (LTU). Malone had an excellent college career, averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game over his three-year career. He left LTU after the 1984-85 season and was selected 14th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1985 NBA Draft. He enjoyed a fine rookie campaign, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He was third in the voting for Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-Rookie Team. The Jazz were so impressed with what they saw in Malone that they decided to establish him as the offensive foundation of their future.
Over the next 17 seasons, Malone teamed up with John Stockton to form one of the best duos in NBA history. The pair played together for an NBA record 1,412 regular-season games and consistently led the Jazz to the playoffs. By 1987 Malone had established himself as one of the most dominant forwards in the NBA. He became famous not only for his physical and overpowering play, but also for his obviously muscular, powerfully built body. He used this body, and countless passes from Stockton, to overwhelm defenders throughout his career. Because of this ability, Malone was nearly always able to attempt high-percentage shots, thus leading to an impressive .516 career field goal (FG) percentage. From 1987 through 2000, Malone averaged over 23 points per game every season, over 25 points per game twelve times, and over 27 points per game eight times. Over the same period of time, he averaged over nine rebounds per game every season and over 10 rebounds per game nine times.
Despite leading the Jazz to regular season success and virtually automatic playoff berths, Malone did not guide his team to playing in a championship until 1997. However, despite making it to the Finals, any hopes of a championship were destroyed by losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Malone helped lead the Jazz back to the Finals in 1998, but history repeated itself as once again they were defeated by the Bulls. After the back-to-back defeats, Malone stayed two more years with the Jazz. These seasons saw Malone put up normal numbers by his standards. He decided to leave the Jazz and give a championship one more shot by joining the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2003-04 season. Once again Malone made it to the Finals only to see his championship dreams shattered, this time by the Detroit Pistons. Malone decided to retire in 2005 and thus, his extraordinary career came to an end without a championship.
Even without a title, the numbers Malone posted throughout his career are impressive, arguably the best in NBA history by a forward. His career averages include 25.0 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game, and 1.4 steals per game. He ranks first all-time with 11,406 career defensive rebounds and second all-time with 36,928 career points scored. Due to his physical playing style, he also ranks first all-time in free throws attempted (13,188) and made (9,787). He was a 14-time All-Star, a two-time NBA MVP, a two-time All-Star Game MVP, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He had career playoff averages of 24.7 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game. The Jazz retired his #32 jersey and erected a bronze statue in his honor on March 23, 2006.
Career Highlights, Awards, and Accolades:
- Named to NBA All-Rookie Team in 1985.
- Fourteen-time All-Star: 1988-98 and 2000-02.
- Two-time NBA MVP: 1997 and 1999.
- Two-time All-Star Game MVP: 1989 and 1993.
- Eleven-time All-NBA First Team: 1988-1999.
- Two-time All-NBA Second Team: 1988 and 2000.
- Three-time All-Defensive First Team: 1997-99.
- Named to All-Defensive Second Team in 1988.
- Two-time Olympic gold medalist with U.S. Men’s Basketball Team: 1992 and 1996.
- Ranks first all-time with 11,406 career defensive rebounds.
- Ranks first all-time with 13,188 career free throws attempted.
- Ranks first all-time with 9,787 career free throws made.
- Ranks second all-time with 36,928 career points scored.
- Holds record with John Stockton for most regular season games played as teammates: 1,412.
- Averaged a career double-double: 25.0 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game.
- Named as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.
- Jersey #32 was retired by the Jazz on March 23, 2006.
- Honored by the Jazz with a bronze statue on March 23, 2006.