Karl Anthony Malone is one of the legends of the National Basketball Association and is otherwise known as The Mailman. The nickname came from the claim that he always delivers and that he did throughout his colorful basketball career. The moniker was given to Karl Malone by a sports writer from Louisiana. His charity work with children and the less fortunate may have been fueled by his own tragic childhood experiences.
The Mailman Delivers
Together with John Stockton, Malone easily became the Utah Jazz’s staple wherever they go. Stockton provides the assists as Malone makes the baskets. He was known for a strict work ethic where other players couldn’t question nor outwork him. He said on one occasion that his desire was to play all of his 82 games for the entire 48 minutes on the floor.
Critics would sometimes claim that he works harder than a horse simply because he is always in a fight for respect. Karl Malone claims to the contrary that he works as hard as he does simply because he is afraid of failure. He also commented that one of his fears is that he may not be able to keep up. This he saw as he grew older perhaps due to his experience growing up as a child.
You can say that one’s childhood is where you draw your own strength of character. This is no truer for everyone than for Malone. He was born on July 24, 1963 as the youngest little boy among nine children. He grew up in a farm in Summerfield, Louisiana where one of the most life changing tragedies struck him.
Malone is no stranger to hard labor especially to the rigors of farm life. He was used to baling hay, hunting, fishing, and chopping trees. Karl’s mother, Shirley, worked at the local sawmill running a forklift. She worked two jobs and at times three just to provide for the family. Malone’s father, Shedrick Hay married and left to provide for another family.
One huge life tragedy that Karl Malone kept hidden from the public was the fact that his father committed suicide when Karl was just 14 years old. This tragedy was only revealed in 1994. This event would be one of the things that will drive the young Malone into a life of hard work and dedication.
Karl Malone’s career peaks are found on the basketball court and in several businesses he established. During his NBA career he was named MVP in 1993, 1997, 1998, and 1999. He was also part of the NBA Dream Team. He is also an Olympic gold medalist.
Malone prefers to keep his charity from any form of fanfare. He runs the Karl Malone Foundation for Kids, which helps kids and their families with financial assistance. The financial aid from this foundation also includes paying the beneficiaries their bills. Other than that, he also donated supplies to Navajo Indians amounting to $200,000. He is also actively involved in the Utah Special Olympics. He received the Henry B. Iba Award in 1998, an award given to athletes who have gone out of their way to aid their fellowmen.