Karl Malone leaves Michael Jordan off his all-time starting five

malone-lakersMany media members enjoy asking NBA legends for their takes on the greatest players in NBA history.

The idea is that these figures’ demonstrable mastery of the highest level of basketball qualifies them to weigh in on these debates. It makes sense, because they obviously know a lot about the sport.

On Monday, Utah Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone appeared on The Dan Patrick Show to discuss various hoops-oriented topics.

Patrick asked for his all-time starting five, and Malone neglected to mention one fairly obvious choice who just happens to have been one of his biggest rivals.

During an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, Malone spoke about LeBron James and some of the greatest players who have ever played the game.

When asked to name his all-time starting five, Malone took John Stockton and Oscar Robertson as his guards, Wilt Chamberlain at center, LeBron at power forward and Scottie Pippen at small forward.

“Scottie Pippen led the team in every statistical category while he was there without Michael Jordan,” Malone explained. “That’s why I have to put him there. So now you know.”

Malone’s answer would be surprising if he didn’t say the exact same thing in an interview last year. For whatever reason, he loves Pippen and refuses to give Jordan the same amount of credit everyone else gives him. Toward the end of the interview, Malone also admitted that he has a “man crush” on LeBron James.

Throughout his career, Malone was seen as second-best to Jordan, the defining player of his era. Despite being one of the best power forwards in the NBA history, and having made it to the NBA finals twice, Malone could never outshine or outplay Jordan.

About a week ago,it was announced on the Utah Jazz’s official radio station that Malone will work with the team’s big men on a part-time basis.

Malone has accepted a job to help coach the Jazz big men, the Hall of Fame power forward announced on the team’s radio station during an interview with CEO Greg Miller.

It is unknown how much time Malone will spend as a coach on Tyrone Corbin’s staff, but he expressed excitement about working with the Jazz young bigs, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, beginning this offseason.

“We haven’t discussed nothing other than that I’ll be coaching the bigs,” Malone said, adding that he’s still working out a scheduled with Corbin on how to approach his new gig.

To clarify, Malone will not be an official assistant coach on the bench — as of right now, he’s only working with big men on occasion.

His role sounds similar to that of a roving instructor in Major League Baseball, a position often held by former players who work in the minors and majors to improve abilities at specific positions. It’s a formal position with fairly informal responsibilities, at least in comparison to those of on-bench coaches.

It’s as yet unclear how effective Malone will be. While any player should consider himself lucky to learn from one of the best post scorers in NBA history, the Mailman has never served as a coach and hasn’t proven the ability to instruct effectively over a sustained period of time. The Jazz have good reason to want him involved with the franchise, and putting him in this role is a low-risk option.

He could be an extremely effective coach; if he isn’t, the Jazz at least formalized a relationship with one of the two best players in franchise history.

Retired stars have a great deal of knowledge about their respective sports, but they often were so successful that they don’t know how to instruct less effective players on how to improve their games.

For all we know, Malone could be an excellent coach, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Jazz hired him on faith. It’s smart of them to keep Malone in this minor role while simultaneously keeping open the possibility that he could take on more responsibility in the future.

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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