Karl Malone Biography

Karl Malone is regarded as one of the best power forwards in the history of the NBA. He collected two regular-season MVP Awards, 11 NBA First Team nominations and was also selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team three times.

He scored 36,928 points (25.0 per game), second best all-time, on 51.6 percent shooting. His high field goal percentage benefited from the pick-and-roll offense and his physical power, enabling him to overpower most forwards. Malone grabbed an average 10.1 rebounds and also averaged 1.41 steals per game.

Malone, who earned the nicknamed "The Mailman" in college for his consistency in delivering, led the NBA in free throws made seven separate seasons (an NBA record). He was a physical defender and rebounder, and one of the most durable players ever in the NBA, missing a total of only five regular season games in his first 13 years in the league.

Malone was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Early Years

Karl Anthony Malone was born July 24, 1963 in Summerfield, Louisiana, the eighth of eight children to Shirley and J.P. Malone. He led his high school team to three consecutive state titles. Poor grades nearly ruined his chances to play college ball, so at his mother's urging he attended Louisiana Tech and sat out his first year to improve his grades.

College Career

After sitting out his freshman season in order to become academically eligible, Malone led Louisiana Tech in scoring and rebounding in each of the next three campaigns. He left the school with a 56.6 career field-goal percentage and career averages of 18.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG.

Professional Career

Utah Jazz (1985-2003)

Karl Malone was chosen by the Jazz in 1985 out of Louisiana Tech with the 13th overall pick in the draft. Malone's first season was a success, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds. After his rookie season, the Jazz saw in him the potential to be the cornerstone of their offense. So, they traded star forward Adrian Dantley to the Detroit Pistons and decided to build around Malone.

At the same time, reserve point guard John Stockton was thriving. By the 1987-88 season, Malone was the foundation of the offense and Stockton was the floor general. Malone made his first All-Star Game in 1988 on the strength of 27.1 points per game, and made his first All-NBA team at the end of the season. The Jazz took the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games. Malone upped his production to 29 points per game in that postseason.

The next year, Malone averaged 29.1 points, good for second in the NBA behind Michael Jordan, and 10.7 rebounds, which was fifth in the league. At the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, Malone finished with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists en route to his first All-Star MVP. The Jazz finished 51-31, but were upset in five games in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. The next year Malone increased his scoring to 31 points and his rebounding to 11.1 a game, but the Jazz were once again eliminated in the first round, this time by the Phoenix Suns.

Playing Jerry Sloan's scrappy and tough style and perfecting the pick-and-roll, the Jazz became a staple to make it to the playoffs and to have a winning record in the regular season. Malone would lead the Jazz to multiple 50-win seasons with the exception of 1992-93 (47-35) where the Jazz stumbled after the All-Star Game (where he and Stockton won co-MVP honors).

Through this time, Malone continued to put up stellar numbers, averaging 28/11.2, 27/11.2, 25.2/11.5, 26.7/10.6 and 25.7/9.8 from 1992 to 1996. The Jazz however, only made it as far as the Western Conference Finals in this period, losing to the Portland Trail Blazers (1992), the Houston Rockets (1994) and the Seattle SuperSonics (1996).

During the 1996-97 season, Malone put up a resurgent 27.4 points per game while leading the Jazz to a 64-18 record, the highest win total in Malone's 12 seasons with the Jazz. Malone finally got to the Finals in 1997, where he was pitted against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, but the Jazz lost 4-2.

Malone put up 27 points per game and just missed out on his second MVP award, losing to Michael Jordan. Nevertheless, the Jazz posted a 62-20 record, which was the best in the NBA. The rematch with the Chicago Bulls ended in defeat in six games, with Malone getting stripped of the ball by Jordan in the final minute of Game 6, leading to Jordan's game-winning basket.

In the lockout-shortened 1999 season, Malone won his second MVP award and the Jazz went 37-13 in the abbreviated season. They lost in the second round to the Trail Blazers, and for the next couple of years the Jazz would fall out of contention for a title. In the 2002-2003 season, Karl Malone passed Wilt Chamberlain for second on the all-time scoring list with his 36,374 points. He became a free agent after that season.

Once Malone retired, the Jazz retired his No. 32 jersey on March 23, 2006, the same day they unveiled a statue of Malone at EnergySolutions Arena.

Los Angeles Lakers (2003-04)

Malone stayed on active duty for one more season, joining the Los Angeles Lakers in an attempt to win a championship, the only major achievement absent in his career. He changed his jersey number to 11, the same number he wore with the Dream Team in 1992. The Lakers had retired No. 32 for Magic Johnson, and though Johnson offered to allow Malone to wear the number, Malone declined.

Despite playing with fellow All-Stars Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton, Malone's championship bid failed as the Lakers were defeated in five games by the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. In that series, Malone sprained his right knee and played injured for four of the five games before missing Game 5, with the Lakers down 3-1 and the series almost over.

Malone retired after the season, finishing his career ranked in the top five in games played (1,476), field goals (13,528), field goal attempts (26,210) and points (36,928). He also retired as the league's all-time leader in free throws (9,787), free throws attempted (13,188) and turnovers (4,524).


Malone won gold twice with Team USA. The first came as a member of the famed "Dream Team", which went 8-0 at the Barcelona Games in 1992. Malone averaged 13.0 PPG and 5.3 RPG for that team. He returned four years later, averaging 8.4 PPG and 4.5 RPG for the 1996 gold medal winners that went 8-0 in Atlanta.

Post-Playing Career

Malone owns a 180-acre cattle ranch in Arkansas called the "Mailman Farm" and has car dealerships in Utah and New Mexico. Malone is an avid hunter and fisherman. He owns a summer home in Kenai, Alaska where he gets to enjoy his hobbies.

Malone was elected for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, one year after Stockton went in.


Malone is married to the former Kay Kinsey. The couple has four children together: son Karl, Jr. born 1995, and daughters Kadee born 1991, Kylee born 1993, and Karlee born 1998. He is also the father of twins Daryl and Cheryl Ford. Cheryl plays for the WNBA's Tulsa Shock. Another son, with whom he does not have a relationship, is Demetrius Bell, a Buffalo Bills offensive lineman .