It’s all over the news and the papers–Karl Malone is in town and we’re retiring him tonight, which is to say we are finally done with him and putting him to sleep and telling all of the kiddies that he’s been sent to live on a farm with a nice family.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the many wonnerful (official Mormon term) memories we have of this wonnerful player and citizen:
- The many looks of Karl Malone–hairy, bald, mustache, goatee, cowboy hat, wranglers, Lakers jersey…
- I know that I always looked forward to the annual Karl Malone vs. Larry Miller fights in which Larry would eventually end up on the 10 o’clock news getting choked up and blubber about how he loves Karl like a son. (A son you would beat with a rubber hose if he wasn’t 7 feet tall.)
- Karl Malone was the first non-psychotic person I know of who frequently spoke about himself in the third person. This was helpful to so many of us who get confused when people say, “I like basketball,” and we’re not exactly sure who they are referring to. With Karl Malone, everything about Karl Malone and Karl Malone’s life and Karl Malone’s philosophy were crystal clear.
- Remember when he was really close to joining the church? You don’t? Oh come on, it was right around the same time that Steve Martin did. I hear he still wears a CTR ring. (Karl Malone, not Steve Martin. See how confusing that can get?)
- We used to take an occasional Sunday drive to his house up above the old Salt Lake City cemetary. “See kids? Behind that gate lives a very rich and powerful man,” we would say. “Wow, I bet he is really smart,” they would say. “I thought we told you never to bet,” we would say.
- Remember how he used to drive around that giant semi truck?
- Remember how he always handled everything with grace and eloquence? Oh wait, that was Stockton.
Well, that was fun. No, wait, it was WONNERFUL.