Counting down the Top 5 (ish) power forwards in Utah Jazz history

1997-1998: Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
1997-1998: Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz. (Photo by Icon Sportswire) /
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1) Karl Malone

Like LeBron James in the modern game, ‘The Mailman’ Karl Malone was a freak of nature in his day. Malone was 6-foot-9, 260 pounds of beast with a physique that looked like something out of DC Comics or Greek mythology.

He was also guard quick, could defend the league’s best frontcourt players and was able to score in the paint or from 18 to 20 feet away from the basket.

Add that legendary work ethic, an unflinching will to win and all the intangibles and you have, for my money, the greatest power forward to ever play the game. Sorry Tim Duncan, your own coach said you were a center. And even if you weren’t, I’m still giving the edge to our letter carrier in the G.O.A.T. power forward debate.

After a 19-year career, the Mailman is No. 2 on the league’s all-time scoring list, trailing just Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and ranks seventh all-time in rebounds. He also won two MVP awards, two Olympic gold medals, was named to 13 All-Star games, was an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection, as well as an All-NBA Third Team selection.

Malone was also brilliant defensively, notching three All-Defensive First Team selections and an All-Defensive Second Team selection.

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Of course, we’ve all heard that litany before and as impressive as it is, it still doesn’t do the man justice. Nor does it tell the tale of how Malone transformed himself from a little-known, low-post bruiser from Louisiana Tech who couldn’t hit a free throw to one of the most dominant scorers, intimidating defenders and complete players ever to play the game.

With Malone, you had to see it for yourself. And even then, it was hard to believe your eyes at times.

Utah Jazz Stats: 1434 GP, 25.4 PTS, 10.2 REB, 3.5 AST


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