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Karl Malone

Selected By Utah Jazz

Once academically eligible, Malone become a star. He led the school to two NCAA tournament invitations and, according to Playboy, earned his famous nickname from a sportswriter who drove through rough weather to watch Malone play and penned words to this effect: "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, nor double-teaming stopped 'The Mailman' that night." In 1985, The Mailman dropped out of college a year early to turn pro. He's still a year shy of a degree in Elementary Education, but vowed to get his diploma some day. Passed over by a dozen other teams, the Jazz selected him as the 13th pick. Malone quickly showed how wrong the other teams were when he averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds and made the NBA All-Rookie team. In 1997, he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone in the 25,000-point, 10,000-rebound club.

Who is the greatest power forward of all time? Images of past greatness at that position included Bob Pettit, who averaged 26 points and 16 rebounds per game and made the All-Star team in each of his 11 years in the NBA. Dave DeBusschere and Gus Johnson were prototype power forwards who won games with "dirty work"—rebound, bang bodies, set picks, block shots, fight, scratch, claw but let others do the scoring. Elvin Hayes, who averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds per game in his first 11 years in the NBA and Spencer Haywood, who also averaged 26 points and 16 boards in his first three years in the NBA showed that a big man could score, not just do the dirty work. But as their game fell off, the scoring power forward became extinct—that is, until Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Kevin McHale came along to resurrect and redefine what coaches call the #4 position.

Malone, who displayed exceptional staying power, in 1996 joined Barkley, Pettit, and Hayes as the only power forwards to post 10 or more 20-point, 10-rebound NBA seasons. Having won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the United States Dream Team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Malone picked up a second gold medal in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics. Three years later, when he renewed his contract for the third time in 1999, he signed for an impressive $66.5 million over four years, to join the most highly paid echelon of players in the NBA. He continued to prove his worth, becoming the NBA's second all-time scorer in 2000 when he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain's career record by collecting 31,443 points; Malone then set an all-time NBA career free throw record of 8,534 successful shots in 2001.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalKarl Malone Biography - Selected By Utah Jazz, Prepared Himself Physically And Mentally, Balanced Basketball And Family