Utah Jazz — Karl Malone
In Shea Serrano’s New York Times bestselling book “Basketball (and Other Things),” there is a chapter titled, “If 1997 Karl Malone and a Bear Swapped Places for a Season, Who Would be More Successful?” The bear actually won, but the fact that the question is posed at all should tell you a lot about Karl Malone. He was chiseled and strong like a bear, and he used his strength and frame to his grand advantage.
Malone put in nearly two decades of work, constantly bodying dudes while remaining historically durable. Malone played all 82 games in a season an incredible 10 times. He played at least 80 games in a season an insane 17 times! For all of the Jordan babies out there — those with their first basketball memories of Michael Jordan’s second 3-peat Bulls, who played the Utah Jazz in both the 1997 and 1998 Finals — Malone was a fantastic basketball villain. The Mailman was a great nickname, too, except it was also used against him. People called him Mail Fraud, and Scottie Pippen famously said, “The Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays,” right before Malone choked in the Finals, missing two huge free throws. But did you know that Malone is first all-time in technical fouls? His elbows are often described as weapons.