Karl Malone hates NBA protective gear, yet puts hope in Utah Jazz’ big men

malone-fingerFormer NBA power forward Karl Malone just wrapped up the first week of an NBA training camp as a coach – he’s coaching the young big men for the Utah Jazz and trying to instill in them the same desire and skills that helped him to climb to second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

While he is here with them, his focus is second to none. Putting these young raw talents through workouts before and after practice.

“The first day it was tough and trying,” Malone said. “I think our big guys don’t know the severity of what is in front of them and how serious this is. I wasn’t a happy camper. Then – it’s amazing – they came back, they’re here early; they want to do things. That’s rewarding to me.”

Malone, of course, is ‘old school’ and he is trying to get used to the methods and approaches of the younger generation.

“I’m not concerned with your elbow pads, your knee pads, all of your garb and your full body armor. What do you need all that for? Our soldiers need that in Iraq and they’re doing a hell of a job for us. Take all that off! We don’t need that. What I need you to do is show up and be ready to play. That’s it,” Malone said in an interview to KSL.com.

“…One of my ‘bigs’ had body armor from his thigh to his neck. I ask him what he was doing and he said he was protecting himself. I said ‘Who you protecting yourself [from]?’ There’s no sniper in this building! Man up! If you’re hurt, see the trainer and play the game,” Malone noted.

“When I played, if you came out there with a sleeve on your elbow, I won’t say ‘I’m going to attack it,’ but you’re a wounded animal and I’ve got to take a stab at it. I like where we’re at, but let’s get rid of all that and play the game, encourage your teammates,” Malone said.

Malone is finding out he likes this coaching business. He noted that big men need more work, expressing hope that if they improve, the Jazz will win ballgames.

Malone spent his first 18 seasons (1985–2003) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Utah Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton.

He was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team.

The Hall of Famer Malone played a total of 1476 NBA games (starting in 1471), holding career averages of 25.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 3.6 apg in 37.2 minutes of playing time.

Malone scored the second most career points in NBA history (36,298), and holds the records for most free throws attempted and made. He is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards.


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