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SPECIAL DELIVERY, JAZZ UNVEIL KARL MALONE STATUE, RAISE NO. 32 TO RAFTERS

Hank Aaron, Michael Jordon and now Karl Malone joins the elite!  I am extremely proud for all of the brothers.  ALL OF THESE GREAT PLAYERS HAVE TAKEN THERE GAME TO ANOTHER LEVEL.  I just wonder when are we going to take the same pride if not more pride in some of the educators, the mothers and fathers who always pushhes the children to the next level,

Thursday March 23, 2006 9:37PM; Updated: Thursday March 23, 2006 11:05PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—As much as he tried to credit others, Thursday in Utah was all about Karl Malone.
The Jazz honored Malone on Thursday by retiring his No. 32 and unveiling a bronze statue of the power forward who played 18 of his 19 NBA seasons in Utah.
The “Mailman,” the second-leading scorer in NBA history, grinned at the pregame statue ceremony and again at halftime of the game against Washington when the jersey was unveiled.
Malone thanked the Jazz for taking him with the 13th pick in the 1985 NBA draft and his former teammates, who helped him score 36,928 career points.
“I realize you knew where the ball was going all the time and you accepted it. Thank you,” Malone said at halftime.
Appropriately enough, Malone’s number hangs right next to former point guard John Stockton’s No. 12. Malone’s statue also stands just a few feet from one of Stockton, just off the corner where John Stockton Drive and Karl Malone Drive intersect southeast of the arena.
The pick-and-roll combination is now permanently fixed in bronze.
“It all worked because of the big fella in the middle,” Stockton said.
Stockton kept his remarks short, as usual, and Malone had the spotlight as he was warmly greeted by the fans. The standing ovation during the halftime ceremony lasted several minutes.
Malone, dressed in black from his boots to cowboy hat, had a wide grin through both celebrations and was joined by his wife and six children.
Malone also thanked the fans and the state of Utah—which he mistakenly referred to as a city after he was drafted.
“I realize now, 20 years later, that it’s a state,” Malone said, poking fun at himself.
The statues are encircled by two rings of bronze plaques listing the accomplishments of Malone and Stockton.
“We had a tough time narrowing it down to what we have,” Jazz owner Larry Miller said.
Stockton and Malone spent part of the day arguing over who made who better, each giving the other credit. Stockton is the NBA’s career leader in assists and steals. Malone scored more points than anybody other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But without Malone there to complete the pick-and-roll, Stockton doesn’t get 15,806 career assists. Without Stockton’s passes, Malone wouldn’t have scored as many points as he did.
“Those numbers are way out there and if just a few things changed, he could have put them out there even further,” Stockton said.
Malone, sixth on the career rebounding list, was also the league’s MVP in 1997 and 1999 and he and Stockton led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Before the ceremony, Malone spoke for himself and Stockton and said they didn’t look back on coming up just short of an NBA title. Malone also said he didn’t regret leaving the Jazz for one season with the Los Angeles Lakers and a final run at a championship after Stockton retired in 2003.
We don’t wish. That’s just not who we are,” Malone said.


Posted by CHANNI on 03/25 at 02:26 AM in Sports

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