Karl Malone To Join John Stockton and Jerry Sloan in Hall of Fame This Summer

David Lynn@davidvlynnCorrespondent IApril 3, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - FEBRUARY 13:  Karl Malone announces his retirement from playing NBA basketball on February 13, 2005 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Malone played 19 years in the NBA, 18 with the Utah Jazz and his last year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone is currently second on the all time scoring list.  (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

Karl Malone was absolutely the most dominant power forward of his time. He was also arguably the greatest power forward in the history of the game.

It was unofficially announced on Friday that Malone will enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer. The official announcement will be made Monday in Indianapolis as part of the NCAA championship festivities.

His induction comes a year after the enshrinement of his longtime running mate John Stockton and venerable coach Jerry Sloan.

Joining Malone will be Scottie Pippen, making it back-to-back Jazz-Bulls inductions. Michael Jordan was enshrined with Stockton and Sloan last summer.

It’s only fitting as these two teams played in the Finals in back-to-back years in ’97 and ’98.

There was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that Malone would enter the Hall of Fame. I personally think it's a shame he didn’t enter at the same time as Stockton.

That extra year he played in L.A. didn’t do anyone any good, and it just wasn’t right seeing Malone in a different uniform.

Despite the unexciting ending to his career, Malone gave the fans in Utah a lot to cheer about.

He was a two-time MVP and twice led his team to the Finals.

He was strong on the inside, but had a tremendous fade-away jumper that kept defenders on their heels. He wasn’t a shooter like some of the big men today, but he could hit the big shots when he needed to.

Anybody who grew up in the Utah area during Malone’s career can hear the familiar sounds of Hot Rod Hundley yelling out, “Stockton to Malone,” on numerous occasions when the Jazz played.

It was one of those rare times when teammates just click with each other. The result was something special.

Malone was always giving reporters plenty to write about with his play on the court—and his mouth off the court.

Despite his constant whining about wanting to go somewhere where it rained more, Malone will always be one of Utah’s most well-respected athletes.

I had the chance to meet Malone a couple of times. Nothing beats the time my 5-year-old neighbor walked up to the massive Malone though, and told him he wasn’t a team player during one of his whiny periods.

Say what you want about the end of his career—and the many times he appeared less than thrilled to be in Utah—but you have to give the man his due.

He teamed up with Stockton to form one of the most consistent teams in NBA history. They were always in the playoffs, and often in it right until the end.

It is a pity that neither won the ultimate prize, but both had stellar careers.

The Mailman is finally getting his spot in the hall like we all knew he would. It just feels right for him to be back with Stockton again after all these years.

Thanks for all of the memories, Karl. You deserve the recognition.


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