Karl "The Mailman" Malone is one of the great power forwards of all time and has been one of the mainstays of the Utah Jazz for more than 15 seasons. One of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History," a two-time MVP (1996-97 and 1998-99), a 14-time All-Star selection, an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection and the second leading scorer in the history of the game, Malone has set the standard for power forwards to match for years to come.
Built like a tight end, Malone has size and strength that make him difficult to defend in the low block, but he also runs the floor, fills the lane on the fast break, and shoots a deadly medium-range jumper.
Malone and point guard John Stockton formed the most consistent guard-forward combination of the modern era and have made the Utah Jazz one of the league's most successful franchises for more than a decade. Malone was a member of the original Dream Team that won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and he reprised that role on the Dream Team that struck gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and was named to the 2003 USA Basketball Senior National Team that will be playing in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in August.
Malone was still a relative unknown when the Jazz selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft-but he established himself quickly. After a fine rookie campaign (14.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg), Malone began a string of seasons virtually unmatched by power forwards in NBA annals. For six seasons beginning in 1987-88 his scoring averages were 27.7, 29.1, 31.0, 29.0, 28.0 and 27.0 points per game, respectively, and his rebounding averages ranged between 10.7 and 12.4 boards per contest.
That year he also began a string of 11 consecutive All-Star selections, and in 1989 he started a streak of 10 consecutive berths on the All-NBA First Team. Malone was Most Valuable Player of the 1989 All-Star Game and co-MVP (along with Stockton) of the All-Star Game played at Salt Lake City in 1993.
He finally reached the NBA Finals in 1997 after dethroning Michael Jordan as the NBA's MVP. Malone ranked second in the league in scoring, sixth in field goal percentage and 11th in rebounding in 1996-97. But in the title series, it was Jordan's Bulls who beat Malone's Jazz 4-2.
Malone and the Jazz suffered a similar fate in 1998, though this time it was Jordan who went into the Finals as the NBA's reigning MVP. Malone's season was comparable to his MVP year as he ranked third in the league in scoring, sixth in rebounding and ninth in field goal percentage. During the season he moved into fourth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
Finished the season averaging 20+ points for the 17th consecutive season (20.7 ppg), adding to his NBA record for topping the 20 points per game mark...Also led the team in scoring for the 17th straight season and finished 20th in the league in scoring... completed the season with 36,374 career points, trailing Kareem Abdul Jabbar by 2013 points as the NBA's all-time leader in points scored... Scored the 35,000 career point of his career at San Antonio on November 30, 2002 and his 36,000th points at Orlando on March 12, 2002... Scored in double figures in 79 of his 81 games, scoring 30+ points 7 times and 20+ 48 times and a season-high 40 points at Orlando on March 12, 2003... Held scoreless for the first time in his career at Seattle on November 3, 2002, going 0-7 from the field and 0-0 from the line and had just 7 points at San Antonio on november 30, 2003, hitting just 1-16 FGAs...Continued to added to his all-time NBA record of most free throws made (9,619) and free throws attempted (12,963)...Trails only Abdul-Jabbar for most field goals made (13,331 to 15,837) and attempted (25,802 to 28,307) in league history... Led the team in rebounding for the 18th straight season (7.8 rpg) and finished 20th in the league... Had 20 games of double-figure rebounds and finished with 20 point/rebound double-doubles...Moved ahead of Walt Bellamy (14,241) into eighth on the NBA's all-time rebound list vs. Phoenix on January 8, 2003 and into 7th ahead of Nate Thurmond (14,464) at Miami on March 10, 2003... He finished with 14,599 career rebounds and continued to add to his NBA record with 11,098 defensive rebounds... Played in 81 of the 82 games on the season, missing the November 6 game vs. Detroit due to the flu and has now played in 1434 of a possible 1444 games in his 18-year career... Played in his 1,400th career game vs. Dallas on February 3, 2003 and is currently 4th on the NBA's allt-ime list trailing only Robert Parish (1,611), Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and Stockton (1,504)...Recorded the 2,000th steal of his career at Indiana on March 14, 2002, becoming the only player in NBA history to register 35,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists and 2,000 steals... Finished the season with 53,461 career minutes played, second on the All-time list behind Abdul-Jabbar (57,446)... Topped the 5,000 career assist mark vs. Denver on March 18, 2003, becoming only the second player in NBA history (Abdul-Jabbar) to register 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists... Averaged a career-high 4.7 apg for the season and led the team 17 times, with a season-high and career-high tying 10 vs. Denver on February 22, 2003... Named to the 2003 USA Basketball Senior National Team that will be playing in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in August.
Continued his remarkable career, scoring 22.4 points per game (9th in the league), grabbing 8.6 rebounds (18th in the league), serving up 4.3 assists per game (second on the team) and posting a career-high 1.90 steals per game, good for 7th in the league...Played in 80 of the 82 games, missing the 3/15 game due to the flu, marking the first time since 4/22/89 that he had missed a game due to illness/injury and missed the 4/5 game with inflammation of his right knee...Has missed just nine games in his career, playing in 1,353 of a possible 1362 games (.993%), missing five games due to illness/injury and four game due to league suspensions...Started the season 8th on the NBA's all-time list in games played, but passed A.C. Green (1,279), Sam Perkins (1,286), Elvin Hayes (1,303), Buck Williams (1,307) and Moses Malone (1,329) to move into 4th on the all-time list...Ranks second only to John Stockton (18) in NBA history for playing with the same franchise in consecutive seasons (17)...Recorded a season-high 39 points vs. Golden State on 12/8, and had 37 points at Golden State on 1/21...Scored in double-figures in 79 of the 80 games, including 52 games of +20 points and 14 games of +30...Scored the 33,000th point of his career at the Los Angeles Lakers on November 5, 2001, and the 34,000th vs. Chicago on 1/30, becoming the second player in NBA history to surpass 33,000 and 34,000 points (Abdul-Jabbar registered 38,387 points)...Grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds vs. Philadelphia on 12/29 and had 28 games of double-figure rebounding...Played his 50,000th career minute vs. Detroit on 3/19, moving him into second on the NBA's all-time list in minutes played ahead of Elvin Hayes...Became the NBA's all-time leader in defensive rebounds (10,117) at Milwaukee on 11/17 moving past Robert Parish...Became the NBA's all-time leader in free throws attempted vs. Dallas on 12/10, passing Wilt Chamberlain (11,859)…Also moved past Chamberlain for second on the all-time list in field goals made (12,681) on 3/28, vs. Cleveland and into fourth on the NBA's all-time list in field goal attempts (23,497) vs. Dallas on 12/10…Selected to play in his 14th NBA All-Star Game but did not participate due to an illness in the family.
Completed another banner season, averaging 23.2 points per game (12th in the league), shooting .498 from the field (13th), 8.3 rebounds (24th) and 4.5 assists, while playing 81 of 82 games....Missed the 11/22/00 game vs. Denver due to suspension....Marked the 15th consecutive season he has scored 20+ points for the season, second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA record with 17 consecutive seasons....Scored a season-high 41 points against Philadelphia on 12/20/00 and topped the 30+ point plateau 22 times and scored 20+ points 55 times....Moved into second place on the NBA's all-time scoring list ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) on 12/5/00 vs. Toronto....Scored his 32,000 career point at Seattle on 1/30/01 and has now scored 32,919 points during his 16-year career....Went 12-12 from the field vs. Seattle on 2/3/01, tying his own Jazz record for consecutive shots made withoutn a miss....Passed Bob Petit (12,849 rebounds) for 14th place all-time on the NBA's list on 12/20/00 at Philadelphia....Grabbed the 13,000th rebound of his career vs. Charlotte on February 1, 2001 and has now totaled 13,287 in his career....Registered 26 point-rebound double-double's on the season....Recorded the 12,000th field goal of his career on 3/27/01 vs. Houston and is now third on the NBA's all-time list in field goals (12,105) behing Wilt Chamberlain (12,681) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15,837)....Passed Moses Malone for second place in the NBA's list for all-time free throw attempts (11,090) and has now attempted 11,703 for his career....Passed Dale Ellis (1,209) for 11th place all-time in NBA history for games played on 12/7/00 vs. Vancouver and then moved into ninth place ahead of John Havlicek (1,270) at Minnesota on 4/15/01....Has only missed seven of a possible 1,280 games in his career....Began the season seventh on the NBA's all-time list in minutes played, but jumped ahead of Moses Malone (45,071), Robert Parish (45,704) and John Havlicek (46,471) to finish the season fourth all-time with 47,503...Blocked the 1,000th shot of his career at Minnesota on 12/23/00 and ended season with 1,035 career blocks, second in Jazz history behind Mark Eaton (3,064)...Named Co-NBA Player of the Week, along with John Stockton for the week (10/31-11/5), scoring 31.7 ppg in leading the team to a 3-0 record....Named NBA's Player of the Month for November, averaging 23.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg and 4.7 apg, while leading the team to a 12-3 record....Selected to play in the 2001 All-Star Game for the 13th time in his career, tying him for third on the NBA's all-time list for All-Star games played.
Selected to the 1999-2000 All-NBA Second Team....Named to the 1999-2000 NBA All-Interview Second Team....Named NBA Player of the Week (2/28 - 3/5), averaging 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists....Registered 35 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists in a 106-101 win over New Jersey on 2/28....Notched 33 points and 13 rebounds in a 91-87 win over Detroit on 2/19....Recorded game-highs with 30 points and 13 rebounds in a 119-108 win over Sacramento on 2/17....Participated in the 2000 NBA All-Star Game....Became the third player in NBA history to score 30,000 points (joining Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) on 1/29....Totaled 35 points and 13 rebounds in a 96-94 loss in Minnesota on 1/29....Passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA career scoring list, tallying 27 points (29,299 for his career), in a 115-99 win over Golden State on 11/29....Totaled 34 points and 11 rebounds in a 108-93 victory over Minnesota on 11/22....Scored a season-high 40 points (17-25 FG) and snared 8 boards in a 111-100 victory in Milwaukee on 11/20....Became the fourth player in NBA history to score more than 29,000 points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, when he scored 31 points in Seattle on 11/6....Started the season ranked fourth on the career scoring list (28,946) and trailed Michael Jordan (29,277) by 331 points for third place all-time.
Named 1998-99 NBA Most Valuable Player, becoming only the ninth player in NBA history to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy more than once, after averaging 23.8 ppg (third in NBA), 9.4 rpg (14th) and 4.1 apg, while shooting .493 (11th) from the field....Also voted to All-NBA First Team, becaming the first player ever to be voted to the All-NBA First Team 11 times....Garnered his third NBA All-Defensive First Team honor and named to the 1998-99 NBA All-Interview First Team....Notched his third career triple-double, with game-highs of 29 points (11-13 FG) and 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, in a 99-82 win over the L.A. Clippers on 5/4/99....Sank his 10,659th career field-goal to pass Alex English for fifth place on the NBA's all-time list....Named NBA Player of the Week for the week ending 4/11/99, averaging 28.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.7 apg and 2.00 spg, and shooting .573 from the field for the 4-0 Jazz....Hit three game-winning free-throws with 0.6 seconds left, registering a game-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists, in a 93-92 win over the Phoenix Suns on 4/9/99....Posted game-highs of 38 points and 12 rebounds, and added 5 assists, in a 92-85 victory over the Golden State Warriors on 4/8/99....Scored his 28,000th career point, totaling a game-high 28 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, in a 110-80 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on 2/20/99....Recorded game-highs of 35 points (13-19 FG, 9-11 FT) and 12 rebounds, and added four assists, in a 97-81 victory over the Golden State Warriors on 2/12/99....Converted his 7,160th career free-throw to pass Jerry West into third place on the NBA's all-time list, registering a game-high 22 points and 9 rebounds, in an 82-74 victory over the Phoenix Suns on 2/11.
Unanimous selection to the 1997-98 All-NBA First Team and named to the 1997-98 NBA All-Defensive First Team....Won the 1997-98 IBM Award....Posted game-highs of 44 points and 16 rebounds and added 6 assists in a 126-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on 4/14....Totaled 37 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists against the Minnesota Timberwolves on 4/11
Scored a season-high 56 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 4 shots in a 101-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors on 4/7
Passed Moses Malone into 4th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, recording 31 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, in a 106-91 win over the L.A. Lakers on 3/28
Registered game-highs of 33 points and 14 rebounds, adding 3 assists, in a 99-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on 3/27
Posted a game-high 30 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists in a 124-119 double-overtime win over the New York Knicks on 3/22
Passed Elvin Hayes into 5th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, totaling 23 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists, in a 91-79 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on 3/20
Recorded a team-high 29 points, a season-high 21 rebounds and 6 assists in a 100-93 win over the Houston Rockets on 3/9
Named NBA Player of the Week for the week ending 3/8, averaging 32.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.3 apg and 1.75 spg for the 4-0 Jazz
Registered a game-high 40 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in a 110-92 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on 3/7
Posted team-highs of 32 points, 15 rebounds and 3 steals in a 110-94 victory over the Boston Celtics on 3/4
Named NBA Player of the Month for February, averaging 26.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 4.0 apg to lead the Jazz to a 9-2 month.
Malone gained recognition as the NBA's Most Valuable Player, dethroning Chicago's Michael Jordan, after leading the Jazz to a franchise-record 64 wins and a first-ever berth in the NBA Finals. In the title series, however, Jordan's Bulls posted a 4-2 victory....Malone ranked second in the league in scoring at 27.4 ppg, 11th in rebounding a 9.9 rpg and sixth in field goal percentage at .550. He also averaged a career-high 4.5 assists, second on the team, and 1.38 steals, fourth on the club. He set an NBA record by scoring at least 2,000 points for the 10th consecutive season and finished the season 10th on the NBA career scoring list with 25,592 points, just 22 behind No. 9 Alex English....Joined Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes as the only players in NBA history with over 25,000 career points and 10,000 career rebounds....Grabbed his 10,000th rebound at Cleveland on Dec. 22 and scored his 25,000th point at Minnesota on March 9....Led the Jazz in scoring in 71 of 82 games, getting 30+ points 34 times including a season-high 41 points three times....Had 43 games with double-figure rebounds, grabbing a season-high 19 in a 119-112 overtime loss at Milwaukee on Jan. 8....Recorded the second triple-double of his carer in a 118-114 victory over Toronto on Feb. 27, scoring 32 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and matching his career-high with 10 assists....Voted the NBA Player of the Week three times and also was the NBA's Player of the Month for March, when he led the Jazz to a 14-1 record including 10-1 on the road....Averaged 31.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in March and shot .591 from the field....In his 10th consecutive All-Star appearance, had four points and four rebounds in 20 minutes as a starter for the West....Led the Jazz in the playoffs with 26.0 ppg and 11.4 rpg, but shot a disappointing .435 from the field....Had 39 points and 11 rebounds in Game 2 of the First Round series against the Clippers, 42 points and nine rebounds (including a record 18 consecutive free throws made) in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Lakers, 32 points and 20 rebounds in Game 5 against the Lakers, 29 points and 14 rebounds in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Houston and 37 points and 10 rebounds in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against Chicago.
Malone was routinely brilliant in 1995-96, ranking fourth in the league in scoring at 25.8 ppg and 11th in rebounding at 9.8 rpg and starting all 82 games. He topped the 2,000-point plateau for the ninth year in a row and moved into 11th on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 23,325 career points. He was an NBA All-Star for the ninth year in a row and an All-NBA First Team selection for the eighth consecutive season....Malone led the team in scoring 65 times while shooting .519 from the field, 19th in the NBA. He scored 30+ points 18 times and 40+ points three times, getting a season-high 51 points against Golden State on Dec. 9. He posted 41 double-doubles, had three 20-20 games and registered the first triple-double of his career with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists against the Clippers on Feb. 2....He ranked 13th in the league in steals at 1.68 per game and he dished a career-high 345 assists to rank second on the team at 4.2 assists per game....Malone, who had 11 points and nine rebounds at the All-Star Game in San Antonio, averaged team highs of 26.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.89 steals in 40.3 minutes per game in 18 playoff games. He capped his year by winning his second gold medal at the Olympics in Atlanta....Malone, who has played in 898 of a possible 902 games in his 11-year career, has appeared in 385 consecutive games, scoring in double figures in each.
Malone posted another superstar season in 1994-95, finishing 4th in the league in scoring (26.7 ppg), 9th in rebounding (10.6 rpg), 12th in field-goal percentage (.536), 21st in steals (1.57 per game), and 32nd in blocks (1.04 per game). The Utah Jazz produced an excellent regular season, winning 60 games for the first time ever and setting a franchise record with a 15-game road winning streak that was the second-longest in league history. But the season ended too quickly for the Jazz, who lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
Malone remained unstoppable. He played in 82 games and took his streak of reaching double digits in points to 300 contests. On January 20 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers he became the 19th player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points. He was named NBA Player of the Week for December 12-19 after leading the team to a 5-0 mark during that period, averaging 26.4 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting .569 from the field. In the playoffs he contributed an amazing 30.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per contest.
An All-Star for the eighth consecutive year, Malone earned yet another berth on the All-NBA First Team. He also finished third in the balloting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award behind David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal.
Despite critics' suggestions that the Utah Jazz had reached their peak several seasons earlier, Malone brought the club to the doorstep of the NBA Finals once again in 1993-94. He and John Stockton showed no signs of slowing in their ninth season as teammates, leading the Jazz all the way to the Western Conference Finals, which the club lost to the Houston Rockets in five games. Bolstered by a strengthened bench and by the midseason arrival of Jeff Hornacek, the Jazz nearly emerged from a tough conference that also included the San Antonio Spurs, the Phoenix Suns, and the Seattle SuperSonics.
As for the regular season, Malone turned in another banner performance. He led the Jazz in scoring (25.2 ppg), rebounding (11.5 rpg), and blocked shots (126) while shooting .497 from the floor. The nine-year veteran placed fifth in the league in scoring, eighth in rebounding, and second in minutes played (3,329) behind the Golden State Warriors' Latrell Sprewell (3,533). He received his seventh consecutive NBA All-Star Game selection, starting in the midseason classic, and earned his sixth straight berth on the All-NBA First Team.
Starting in all 82 games, Malone led the Jazz in scoring 69 times and in rebounding 56 times. He scored at least 20 points on 70 occasions and grabbed at least 10 rebounds 59 times. In a game against the Denver Nuggets on April 22, Malone scored a season-high 38 points, surpassing the 19,000 mark for his career. In the playoffs Malone averaged 27.1 points over 16 contests. In Game 7 of a tough conference semifinal series against the Nuggets, Malone lifted the Jazz to victory with 31 points and 14 rebounds.
Malone had his second-best year from the field, shooting at a .552 clip. On the strength of his 27.0 scoring average and 11.2 rebounding average, he was named to the All-NBA First Team for a fifth consecutive season. He ranked among the league's top 10 in scoring (third), rebounding (10th), and field-goal percentage (sixth).
Malone finished second on the Jazz in steals (1.51 per game) and third in assists (3.8 apg). He surpassed the 16,000-point mark in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 4 and also passed Mark Eaton to become the franchise's all-time leading rebounder. For the season, Malone led the Jazz in rebounding in 68 games, 57 of them double-figure performances.
On February 21 Malone and teammate John Stockton shared MVP honors at the NBA All-Star Game, leading the West to a 135-132 overtime victory. Malone topped the West with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Stockton dished for 15 assists.
The Jazz were eliminated by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1993 NBA Playoffs. Malone had 26 points and 12 rebounds in the fifth and deciding game of the series and averaged 24.0 points and 10.4 rebounds in five games.
Malone finished second in the NBA in scoring (28.0 ppg) and ninth in rebounding (11.2 rpg), earning his fourth straight berth on the All-NBA First Team. An All-Star for the fifth consecutive year, Malone was the top vote-getter among Western Conference forwards.
"The Mailman" scored 40-plus points five times during the regular season. He then carried the Jazz all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in six games. Malone averaged 29.1 points on .521 shooting from the field and 11.3 rebounds during the postseason.
But the real excitement for Malone began after the last playoff game ended. In October 1991 Malone had been selected by USA Basketball to play on the Dream Team, a collection of NBA superstars that would represent the United States at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.
It was indeed a dream experience for Malone, who found himself teamed with the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, and David Robinson-not to mention Jazz teammate John Stockton-as the United States romped to the gold medal. Malone led the U.S. team in rebounds three times during the Games.
The Jazz acquired guard Jeff Malone in a three-team deal prior to the season, giving the club another offensive weapon. However, Utah struggled at the beginning of the campaign, losing 7 of its first 15 games. The Malones heated up in January and February as the Jazz went 21-9 during the two months. In one 19-game stretch from January 19 through March 4 Karl led the team in scoring in every game.
"The Mailman" made his fourth straight All-Star appearance, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He averaged 29.0 points and 11.8 rebounds during the regular season, leading four Jazz players in double figures. Jeff Malone averaged 18.6 points, John Stockton contributed 17.2 points, and Thurl Bailey scored at a 12.4 clip.
A confident Utah team met Phoenix in the first round of the 1991 NBA Playoffs. Malone, who'd been named to the All-NBA First Team for the third straight year, totaled 27 points and 10 rebounds as the Jazz took the opening game from the Suns in Phoenix. The Jazz wrapped up the series in four games. However, the Portland Trail Blazers were next up, and even though Malone averaged a postseason career-high 13.3 rebounds through the two playoff rounds, the Trail Blazers took care of the Jazz in five games.
Malone was voted an NBA All-Star for the third straight year, but he didn't play in the game because of an ankle injury. NBA fans were disappointed because he'd performed well enough just before the game to be named NBA Player of the Month for January....Malone was again named to the All-NBA First Team after averaging 31.0 points and 11.1 rebounds. He finished second to Michael Jordan (33.6 ppg) in scoring and fourth in rebounding. His .562 field-goal percentage also ranked fourth in the league....Malone scored 52 points in a victory over the Charlotte Hornets on December 22. He was named NBA Player of the Week for January 2-9 and January 29-February 5. He also won NBA Player of the Month honors for January, an award he secured with a 61-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 27....As the season progressed Malone got even hotter. In Utah's last 26 games of the regular season Malone led the club in scoring 24 times. He tallied 49 points against the Golden State Warriors on March 29 and 45 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 12....The Jazz finished the year at 55-27, but when the postseason rolled around Utah couldn't shake the first-round jinx, losing to the Phoenix Suns in five games. "The Mailman" contributed 25.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the postseason.
Utah Coach Frank Layden moved upstairs as team president and his assistant, Jerry Sloan, became the head coach 17 games into the season. The Jazz went on to set a club record with 51 victories but fell to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs....Malone had his best season to date, finishing second in the NBA in scoring (29.1 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (10.7 rpg). He earned MVP honors at the 1989 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, scoring 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field. He was named to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career and finished third in the balloting for the league's Most Valuable Player Award...."The Mailman" scored a season-high 44 points against the 76ers in Philadelphia on December 17. He added at least 40 points on three other occasions-at Golden State on January 14, against the New York Knicks on January 28, and against the Denver Nuggets on April 12. In a three-game playoff loss to the Warriors, Malone averaged 30.7 points and 16.3 rebounds.
Malone became a full-fledged superstar this season, averaging 27.7 points and a career-high 12.0 rebounds. He finished fifth in the league in scoring and fourth in rebounding as Utah posted a 47-35 record-the best in franchise history to date....The Jazz cranked it up a notch when fourth-year point guard John Stockton was moved into a starting role this season. Stockton led the NBA in assists, with 13.8 per game, many of which went to Malone as the two developed into a potent one-two punch. Stockton and Malone were both named to the All-NBA Second Team, and Malone made the first of a long string of All-Star appearances....For the second straight season Malone played in all 82 regular-season games, and he was Utah's scoring leader in 62 of them. "The Mailman" ended the season on fire-he scored at least 30 points in each of the Jazz's last eight games, including a 41-point outing against the Seattle SuperSonics on April 22....The Jazz roared through the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers, then stood face to face with the defending NBA-champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz didn't blink. In fact, Utah pushed the Lakers to a seventh game, in which Malone totaled 31 points and 15 rebounds. But Los Angeles eked out a 109-98 victory and went on to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals and the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. Malone had a monster postseason, averaging 29.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 11 games.
Malone led the Jazz in scoring (21.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg), but he had yet to be recognized for the superstar he was. In fact, Mark Eaton was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, but the Jazz were shut out of NBA honors otherwise....Appearing in all 82 games, Malone led the Jazz in scoring 51 times. In 29 games from February 1 through April 3 Malone was Utah's leading scorer in all but five contests. He scored a season-high 38 points twice, against the Trail Blazers at Portland on January 13 and against the SuperSonics in Seattle on February 24....Malone's best stretch came in mid-March, when in three straight games, two against the Sacramento Kings and one against the Denver Nuggets, he scored 33, 37, and 29 points. Later in the month he had back-to-back 30-plus scoring efforts in wins over the Houston Rockets and Denver....All-Star forward Kelly Tripucka came to the club in a trade for Adrian Dantley this season, and the Jazz put together a 44-38 record, the second-best mark in franchise history to date. But after jumping out to a two-games-to-none lead against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Jazz dropped the next three and were eliminated....Malone struggled from the field in the postseason, shooting only .420, but he still managed to average 20.0 points and 9.6 rebounds in five games.
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. The player they call "the Mailman" had starred in relative obscurity at Louisiana Tech, averaging 18.7 points in three collegiate seasons. When draft time rolled around, he had to wait while players like Benoit Benjamin, Jon Koncak, Joe Kleine, and Ed Pinckney were selected ahead of him....As a Utah rookie Malone averaged fewer than 20 points (14.9 ppg), shot below 50 percent from the field (.496), and didn't hit double digits in rebounds (8.9 rpg) for the only time in his career. He was third in the voting for Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team....The Jazz advanced to the NBA Playoffs for the third straight year but were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Malone averaged 21.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in the four postseason games.
Played at Louisiana Tech....After sitting out his freshman season in order to become academically eligible, led the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding in each of the next three campaigns....Left the school with a .566 career field-goal percentage and career averages of 18.7 ppg and 9.3 rpg.