Malone: Stockton Was ‘Tough As A Pair Of Leather Boots’
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Karl Malone boasted about his former Utah Jazz teammate John Stockton on the latest episode of the Knuckleheads podcast. On the episode, the former Utah Jazz Hall of Famer discussed his partnership with John Stockton and his own reputation as a dirty player.
The Knucklehead podcast is a running series hosted by former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles often interviewing former NBA players about league history.
During the more than 100 minute podcast, Malone discussed how he and Stockton operated in Utah for nearly two decades together, and how he approached his role as an enforcer in the NBA.
Malone: Stockton ‘Tough As A Pair Of Leather Boots’
While Stockton and Malone spent 18 seasons together, neither player hardly missed a game. Malone is known as one of the most gifted physical specimens in league history, while Stockton’s grit kept him on the floor as he battled through injuries.
On the episode, Malone described Stockton’s durability using a quote from late Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
“Coach Sloan used to say he was as ‘tough as a pair of leather boots, broken-in leather boots,” Malone recounted. “He was one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around.”
Malone remembered one specific incident that highlighted Stockton’s toughness. During a playoff game with the Sacramento Kings, the Jazz guard was on the wrong end of a cheap shot from All-Star Chris Webber but it didn’t keep him out of the game.
“I love Chris Webber but this one time I wanted to kick his [butt],” Malone said. “So we had been wearing them out at home, and Chris Webber started at half court looking for John — On the flip side, I’m going to say good on you Chris for studying the playbook — And we ran that ‘four-up’ he didn’t even care. He hit Stock the sternum with his elbow. I tell you I [darn] near felt it and heard it.”
After the play, Malone went to Sloan on the sideline and asked him not to run the play for fear of Stockton’s wellbeing.
“Stock looked at me and said, ‘No, I’m good,'” Malone said.
The Jazz lost the game, though Stockton finished with 13 points, six rebounds, and six assists in 33 minutes, despite taking the shot on the game’s first play.
The team would go on to win the opening round series in five games which included a Stockton buzzer-beating game-winner in game four.
Malone Makes Good With Isiah Thomas
Malone was notorious for his own dirty play throughout his career. Perhaps no incident is more infamous than his elbow to the face of Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas that sent the Hall of Famer sprawling and required 40 stitches to close.
Malone insisted the elbow had nothing to do with Thomas’ play, but with that of his Pistons teammates.
“[Bill] Laimbeer and [Rick] Mahorn, they were borderline dirty,” Malone said.
“Isiah Thomas and I have had an unbelievable conversation here the last year,” Malone said. “So you all know how that went down. But it went down because of those other guys that were with him. Every time I played them, [darnit] I just wanted to fight.”
The Jazz went on to win the game, though Malone found himself lighter in the pocketbook as a result.
Malone was suspended for the Jazz following game and fined $10,000 for the incident. Thomas missed three games as he recovered from the injury.
You can listen to the entire podcast in the player below. Listener discretion, the episode has language that may not be appropriate for all listeners.
- Karl Malone's Son Shares Update On Health Of Utah Jazz Legend's Wife (pageviews: 18600)
- BYU Football Adds Grad Transfer Mufi Hill-Hunt From Utah - KSL Sports (pageviews: 4458)
- Mel Kiper Jr. Shakes Up Landing Spot For Zach Wilson In Latest Mock Draft - KSL Sports (pageviews: 3985)
- Elijah Millsap Accuses Jazz VP Dennis Lindsey Of Racially Pointed Remark - KSL Sports (pageviews: 2540)
- BYU Men's Volleyball, Grand Canyon Go Back-And-Forth For Longest Set In NCAA History (pageviews: 2143)
- Former Utah State Aggie Jakob Robinson Transfers To BYU Football - KSL Sports (pageviews: 1285)
- Ryan Smith, Apple CEO, Imagine Dragons Singer Team To Expand LGBTQ+ Safe House Encircle - KSL Sports (pageviews: 1118)
- Utah Jazz Release Guard Shaquille Harrison (pageviews: 994)
- Jazz Release Second Half Of Regular Season Schedule - KSL Sports (pageviews: 932)