Malone Game 7 delivery

Updated: June 4, 2007, 5:24 PM ET
By Bob Carter | Special to

Signature Game
May 21, 1994 - Faced with the embarrassment of becoming the first NBA team to lose a seven-game series after taking a 3-0 lead, the Utah Jazz relied in Game 7 on a player known for delivering.

Karl Malone scored 22 of his team's 46 points in the first half, leading Utah to an eight-point lead, and the favored Jazz went on to beat Denver 91-81 in Salt Lake City to advance to the Western Conference final.

Malone finished with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists, shooting 12-for-23 from the floor. "Karl had tremendous focus today," said Jazz point guard John Stockton. "He was not going to let us lose."

Carrying the sting of owner Larry Miller's words  Miller had screamed at coach Jerry Sloan to remove a struggling Malone from Game 5  the power forward carried the Jazz. He had seven points, four rebounds and four assists in the third quarter as Utah built a 74-59 cushion.

"Karl had a great game," Nuggets coach Dan Issel said. "Great players play well when the stakes are high, and the stakes were pretty high."

Odds 'n' Ends

  • As a youngster in rural Louisiana, Karl Malone made money by chopping wood for stoves and delivering logs to homes in the area.

  • His mother helped him with his shooting by forming a crude hoop with a wire and her arms.

  • Malone's hometown of Summerfield had about 200 people, and his graduating class was eight. Later, he liked to joke about being in the "top 10" of his class.

  • Playing for Louisiana Tech, Malone hit Rice center Dave Ramer in his head with an elbow in a December 1984 game. Ramer suffered a depressed cheekbone and fractures around his eye socket and needed reconstructive surgery. Malone apologized, calling it an accident.

  • A student in Louisiana Tech's sports information office came up with Malone's nickname. Teddy Allen, looking for a nickname to spice up his game notes, at first tried "The Postman," but then changed to "Mailman" because he liked the alliteration "Mailman Malone."

  • In his sophomore season, Louisiana Tech ended Lamar's 80-game home winning streak, capturing the Southland Conference tournament final.

  • Malone was cut from the 1984 U.S. Olympic team by coach Bob Knight. Malone later earned gold medals with the 1992 and 1996 Dream Teams.

  • Malone admitted he didn't play hard every game in college. "It was rough in our league to play a half-decent team one night and then a 6-2 center the next," he said.

  • Convinced the Mavericks were going to select him with the eighth choice of the 1985 draft, Malone rented an apartment in Dallas. Instead, the Mavs took Detlef Schrempf and Malone lasted until Utah's turn at No. 13.

  • After his first pro season, the Jazz traded high-scoring Adrian Dantley, opening the door for Malone's scoring potential.

  • Malone once told a reporter about some of the "tricks" he had learned in the NBA  grabbing the back of an opponent's jersey when referees weren't looking, stepping on the foot of players as they got ready to jump for a rebound.

  • He had 22 points and 10 rebounds, both West team highs, in his first All-Star game in 1988 at Chicago. Malone averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 12 All-Star appearances.

  • He was the MVP of the 1989 All-Star Game, scoring 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He shared MVP honors with Stockton in the 1993 game in Salt Lake City, getting 28 points and 10 rebounds.

  • Malone scored a career-high 61 points against Milwaukee on Jan. 27, 1990.

  • His rebound high of 23 came on March 29, 1994 against Golden State.

  • He was suspended for one game and fined $10,000 by the NBA after a flagrant foul against Isiah Thomas (elbowing) in a December 1991 game.

  • In Game 5 of a 1994 playoff series against Denver, Malone struggled and Jazz owner Larry Miller yelled at coach Jerry Sloan to get him off the floor. Miller then got into a scrap with fans. The rebuke pained Malone.

  • When Stockton became the NBA's all-time assist leader in 1995, Malone fittingly scored the basket off Stockton's assist.

  • Malone always spoke his mind. He often criticized Jazz center Greg Ostertag for what he perceived as a poor work ethic.

  • He expressed concern about playing with Magic Johnson after the Lakers guard announced he had tested HIV-positive.

  • He decried the work habits and lifestyles of younger NBA players.

  • He said he didn't want female referees coming into the NBA.

  • Malone had several contract disputes with Jazz management. In November 1998 he demanded a trade, saying he was done in Utah. He eventually signed a four-year, $66.5-million contract.

  • Shirley Malone, his mother, died of an apparent heart attack in August 2003. He left the Olympic team's training camp and didn't return.

  • He shot .516 from the field for his career in the regular season and .463 in the postseason. His scoring and rebounding averages were similar: 25.0 scoring average in the regular season, 24.7 in the playoffs; 10.1 rebounds in the regular season, 10.7 in the postseason.

  • He's No. 2 in minutes played with 54,852, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (57,446).

  • Malone says his biggest spots thrill was meeting baseball's Nolan Ryan, his favorite athlete, and going fishing with him.

  • After Malone's retirement, the family moved from Newport Beach, Calif., to Choudrant, La., near his hometown of Summerfield. He relaxes by clearing land with equipment from his own timber company.

  • In May 2007, Malone returned to his alma mater as director of Louisiana Tech's basketball promotion and assistant strength and condition coach. He immediately donated $350,000 to the athletic department ($300,000 toward a new basketball floor and $50,000 to the volleyball program).

  • Malone enjoys hunting and fishing in Alaska and owns a vacation cabin there.