It's been 10 years since Karl Malone bid the game goodbye. But even today, the 50-year-old proves why the nickname, 'The Mailman', holds good. Blessed with amazing shooting skills — hence the sobriquet — the legendary power forward displayed his immaculate free-throw skills in the 'Shooting Stars' contest at the All-Star Saturday Night.
Representing Team Durant, which also included current All Star Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder and WNBA star Skylar Diggins, Malone found the basket from different angles, though his team lost the evening's title to Team Bosh. But Malone was one of the stars who made it a memorable evening on the eve of the much-awaited All-Star match at the Smoothie King Centre here.
Malone's mantra for success was simple — play, play and play as much as you can. When dna had the chance to come face-to-face with the former Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers superstar, he spoke about having to forget the past and be living in the present as one of the secrets to success.
"You have to have short-term memory," said the man who stands six foot nine inch. That's what made him a successful cager. "If you have had a great game, you have to forget it. If you have had a bad game, you have to forget it because you have another one coming. But then, you have to work every day. It is still just a game. That is why they say you are a player in basketball. The game of basketball is just a game and when you are playing good, you go back and practise more. When I grew up playing basketball, I was playing it regularly with my brother."
It's not for nothing that Malone (36,928 points) is second on the list of scoring leaders in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops that list, but when it comes to free-throws attempted and made (13,188-9,787), Malone is second to none.
Reigning NBA star and Miami Heat's LeBron James seconded Malone. "For me, as a kid, when I was playing, I just played the game as much as I could. It did not matter if it was indoors or outdoors, if it was raining or snowing, if it was hot, if it was snowing, I just played the game so much. In our little league in the backyard, I just went out and practised day in and day out. The answer is simple — play as much as you can."
Meanwhile, the All-Star Saturday Night, the penultimate day of festivities leading up to Sunday's All-Star game, is all about raising money for charity. Team East and Team West donated $250,000 each for the benefit of fans through various projects.