26 years ago yesterday, The Mailman delivered his career high performance against the Milwaukee Bucks. The 14-time NBA All-Star, two-time MVP, and two-time All-Star Game MVP power forward was unstoppable that evening. He racked up 61 points, and grabbed 18 rebounds and three steals. That night Malone was a flurry of fast breaks and ground shaking dunks. Check it out.
There was MJ and Pippen, Kemp and Payton, and Malone and Stockton. This performance would not have been possible without the help of #12, John Stockton. A reporter said that “there is nothing more basic and yet nothing executed any closer to perfection than the Utah Jazz pick & roll” and he was right; Malone and Stockton hosted a twenty year long clinic on how to run the pick & roll on NBA hardwood floors everywhere.
At eight inches shorter and almost 90 pounds lighter than Malone, he delivered 16 assists throughout the incredible game. By the end of the first half the Jazz already had 61 and were up by 16. At the end of the third quarter the end was nigh and the Jazz were up 96-73. The Jazz demolished the Bucks 144-96 and got a standing applause from everyone in attendance.
Oh, and did I mention that Karl Malone is number two on the list of most career points in NBA history? He’s also the record holder for the most free throws attempted and made. Additionally, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame not once, but twice — once for his individual career, and once for his membership in the 1992 US Olympic basketball team.
I didn’t get to watch Malone play a whole lot as a kid but I did get to watch him on Static Shock. As part of the Hoop Squad, a four man team of basketball players in power suits, he fought crime alongside Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, and Steve Nash. Simply awesome.