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Karl Malone joins John Stockton on NBA's 75th anniversary team

Utah Jazz's John Stockton, right, walks off the court with teammate Karl Malone, center, and coach Jerry Sloan after beating the Houston Rockets 103-100 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday, May 29, 1997, in Houston.

Utah Jazz's John Stockton, right, walks off the court with teammate Karl Malone, center, and coach Jerry Sloan after beating the Houston Rockets 103-100 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday, May 29, 1997, in Houston. (Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It's hard to say one without the other.

A day after John Stockton was named to the NBA's 75th Anniversary team, Karl Malone received the same honor. Malone was announced as part of the celebration team Wednesday, cementing the two Utah Jazz legends among the top 75 players of all time.

Malone's 36,928 career points are still second all-time in the NBA, and he is seventh on the all-time rebounding list.

He won two MVP titles in 1997 and 1999 and led the Jazz to two NBA Finals, where they lost to Michael Jordan (who also was named to the team on Wednesday) and the Chicago Bulls.

Malone's performance in Game 5 of the 1998 Finals — where he scored 39 points on 17-of-27 shooting, nine rebounds and five assists — is considered one of the greatest individual games in Finals history. His heroics helped push the series back to Utah, but also set the stage for Jordan's famous ... well, you know.

Praised for his nearly unmatched durability, Malone played in 1,434 of a possible 1,444 regular-season games for the Jazz, teaming up with Stockton to create one of the best pick-and-roll duos the game has ever seen.

Malone played in a third NBA Finals during his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-04. His quest for the elusive NBA title came up short, however, as Los Angeles fell to Detroit in five games. Malone sprained his right knee in Game 3 of those Finals and played through injury before missing the fifth and final game of the series.

His lack of a championship is the one knock on his resume. Malone was a 14-time All-Star, a 14-time All-NBA selection and a four-time All-Defensive selection. He even won two NBA All-Star MVPs — one in 1989 and one in 1993 that he shared with Stockton.

Again, it's hard to have one without the other.

In 2010, he was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame as one of the greatest power forwards to play the game.

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