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Susan Wood ReportingWhen he's gone, he doesn't want to be forgotten. Those were Karl Malone's words earlier today at the State Capitol just moments before the governor declared August 8th, "Karl Malone Day."
Governor Leavitt: "It should be noted that this may be the only time in history when a hall of fame basketball player got my autograph."
After 18 years in Utah, Karl Malone is leaving with a tear in his eye and a prestigious note of thanks from Utah's governor.
Governor Leavitt: "I do commend and thank Karl and Kay Malone and declare today Karl Malone day in Utah.(applause)"
Karl Malone: "Thanks to the state of Utah for allowing me to grow as a person, as a man. What you see is what you get; this is who I am. I didn't know this was gonna be like this."
Malone leaves Utah leaves a legacy that goes beyond the purple and teal; generations to come will be able to see his contributions to our state's environment.
The Big Horn Sheep were gone in Utah 20 years ago, but Karl helped bring them back. With more than a quarter million dollars out of his own pocket, you can now see them running through our canyons.
Kevin Conway, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources: “You should be proud to know that you’re leaving Utah wildlife better than you found it.”
Don Peay, Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife: “No matter where he goes, he treats all people graciously with a generosity that’s almost unfound. He’s just a tremendous human being.”
And Malone may be most admired for his contributions to children in need. Karl is always willing to help children who are sick or handicapped through the foundation for kids.
Tina Persels, Mother: "I know for a lot of these little boys and a lot of these other kids, Karl Malone is their hero and sometimes the only thing they can do is lay in bed and watch Karl Malone play basketball and I'm sure they'll be watching him play in the yellow and purple."