Utah Jazz All-Time Players: Who Ranks No. 1, John Stockton or Karl Malone?
One was big. One was small.
One rode a Harley. One drove a minivan.
One was outspoken. One preferred not to speak at all.
One came from the deep South, and one grew up in the Northwest.
One rebounded, dunked, and defended the paint. One passed, ran the fast break, and stole the ball from everyone.
One.....Oh, I think you get it. The differences are endless.
It is almost impossible to say one's name without the other, and many Jazz fans could say "Stockton to Malone" before they could walk.
They were inseparable.
Like peanut butter and jelly, pencil and paper, socks and shoes, and burgers and fries; the years they spent together as teammates will forever link them together in a way shared by very few athletes.
The next few slides will provide background and present the argument for each player. It is then your job as a fan to weigh in and make your vote count.
At the end, leave a comment to let me know who you think is better and why.
How Do They Compare to Others?
Is there another duo in sports history that is as connected as John Stockton and Karl Malone?
Jordan and Pippen? More titles, but not as many years together.
Kobe and Shaq? We know how that ended.
Manning and Harrison? Getting closer, but not for as long.
Magic and Kareem? No, they had Worthy, Scott, and Rambis.
Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine? Dominating, but not the same.
In terms of championships, there were duos that were more successful. I can hear the argument now. "Stockton and Malone never won a title so it doesn’t count. You can’t be the best without a title."
Even without that elusive title, Stockton and Malone together reached milestones that can not be ignored.
Both spent long careers primarily with one team (The Laker season chasing a title for Malone can easily be left out) and helped to transform a small market franchise into a perennial contender.
Both are two-time Olympic Gold Medalists, Hall of Fame inductees, and highly ranked in individual categories.
Although Malone won two in his career, when the Jazz hosted the 1993 All Star-Game, the voters could not decide on just one, and the pair was named the co-MVP.
The Case for the Passer
After being selected with the 16th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, John Stockton went on to become a Hall of Famer, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and one of the 50 Greatest NBA players of all time.
He is the all-time NBA leader in both assists and steals.
With 15,806 assists, he owns one of the few records in sports that will never be broken. His assist mark of 1,164 in one season is also an NBA record.
To put that into perspective, current player, Jason Kidd is in second place with 11,578 assists. He would have to average at least 10 assists per game for the next five seasons to catch Stockton. At 38 years old, it is not likely that Kidd will make it into first place.
Stockton also holds a strong lead in the amount of steals in his career with 3,265. In second place is Micheal Jordan with 2,514. The only active players in the top 20 are Jason Kidd (third) and Kobe Bryant (18th).
Stockton was named to 10 All-Star games, and was the co-MVP with Karl Malone in 1993.
He was named to the NBA First Team twice, and the Second Team six times.
In 19 seasons, Stockton missed only 22 games, most of which were due to a single injury during the off season at the Olympics.
The Argument for the Finisher
After being passed over by 12 teams in the 1985 NBA Draft, Karl Malone went on to become one of the best power forwards in league history.
He is also a Hall of Famer, winner of two Olympic Gold medals, on the NBA's 50 Greatest Players team, and is second on the all-time scoring list with 36,298 points.
He trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by less than 1500 points.
Malone is a two-time NBA MVP, was named to 14 All-Star games, and was the All-Star game MVP on two occasions.
He was named to the NBA First Team in 11 of his 19 seasons, and leads the NBA in defensive rebounds for a career with 11,406.
He was best known for his signature "hammer dunk," and missed only eight games in his career until injuries forced him to miss more during his last season.
Time for the Fans to Vote: Which Player Is Number 1?
While I do understand that this is a bit of a chicken and an egg debate, as the two complemented each other so well it is difficult to say how they would have performed separately, I want your thoughts.
If you had to pick one, who would you go with?
Do you cast your vote for the scrappy point guard that refused to quit, or the powerful iron man that dominated the front court for years?
Would Stockton have as many assists without Malone?
Would Malone be on the NBA all-time scoring list without Stockton?
Even if it is a hard choice, give it a shot. Tell me who gets the edge and why.