Sunday , Feb , 13 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Mailman makes retirement official

Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) – Future Hall of Fame forward Karl Malone announced his retirement at an afternoon press conference on Sunday at the Delta Center.

“It has been a great 19-year ride, but all good things must come to an end,” said Malone. “I have been blessed by many things in my life, most of all the support I have received from my family, especially my wonderful wife, Kay; this incredible franchise, led by Larry Miller; and my coaches and teammates.”

Malone ends his career second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 36,928 points, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387. A 14-time All-Star and the league’s MVP for the 1996-97 and 1998-99 campaigns, Malone averaged 25 points and 10.1 rebounds over 1,476 games.

He is one of two players (Jerry West) to average at least 25 points in 11 consecutive seasons (1987-98) and the only player in league history to be named to the All-NBA team 11 times (1989-99).

“Karl’s contribution to the Utah Jazz and the NBA are incalculable,” said NBA Commissioner David J. Stern. “I am very pleased that Karl would choose to announce his retirement in Salt Lake City with the Utah Jazz and Larry Miller at his side. We look forward to his certain induction in the Hall of Fame and we all hope he remains involved in the NBA in some fashion.”

Last season, though, Malone posted career-lows of 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Malone underwent surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee over the summer of 2003 that limited him to just 42 games during his one turbulent season in Los Angeles. He declined a $1.65 million contract option shortly after the Lakers lost in five games to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.

The 41-year-old Malone signed with the Lakers for far below market value in an attempt to win the NBA title that had eluded him during his illustrious career.

That dream ended in a nightmare for Malone, whose injury forced him to the sidelines for the majority of the Finals versus Detroit. He played sparingly in Games 3 and 4 and sat out the series-clinching contest.

Malone, who was being courted by the San Antonio Spurs, was also selected as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players in 1996.

“For 18 years, Karl, along with John Stockton, was the centerpiece of the Utah Jazz,” said Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan. “I can only add to the accolades already expressed here today. Karl has one of the best work ethics I have experienced in coaching. He put his heart and soul into every game.”: