What's Next for The Mailman?

What's Next for The Mailman?

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Keith McCord ReportingIs it "game over" for good for Karl Malone? The Mailman sat out Game 5 of the NBA Finals last night in street clothes, hurt and helpless on the sidelines.

Malone is under contract with the Lakers for one more season, but can opt out. The former Utah Jazz player says he's considering retirement.

So what's next for Karl Malone? That's what the sports pages and sport talks shows are discussing today. We checked the sports pages in some of the major newspapers across the country today and they all mentioned Malone in one way or another:

A headline in The Arizona Republic said, "Career could be over for hobbled Malone". The LA Times wrote about the irony of Karl -- a player so healthy for all those years in Utah, but was in street clothes for the final game! Another article said the foursome of Shaq, Kobe, Payton and Malone looked "old and tired".

Whether you like him or not, it was a little sad to see Karl Malone not in uniform last night. And as the game clock wound down, his facial expressions seemed to say, “After 19-years, is this how it's going to end?”

Malone says his future will depend on his ailing knee. He says if it's not 100 percent by training camp then he'll probably retire.

Utah basketball fans have a few thoughts Karl's future.With a Championship ring still not on his finger, and the all-time NBA scoring record within reach, should Karl Malone retire from professional basketball, or continue playing?

In a Survey USA poll, of 500 Utahns, 51% said the "Mailman" should call it a career! 42% said he should keep playing.

Malone, of course, left the Jazz to join the Lakers, taking a huge pay cut. Good or bad move for his career? 49% of Utah fans think his decision to leave was a bad career move. 31% said it didn't matter, and 19 % felt it was good for Karl's basketball career.

And, was his going to Lakers beneficial to the Lakers? 50% said the Laker's were a better team with Malone. 23% said his effect on the team was negative. 27% said it didn't matter.

When a sports season comes to an end, you'll often hear fans say, "Wait 'til next year". Fans of Karl Malone might not be able to say that anymore.

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