Can you think of a departure from the game less glorious than Karl Malone's? The guy is second in all-time scoring and considered one of the best, if not the best power forward ever, and he left the game with less fanfare than Stockton (which is hard to do).
Somewhere along the line someone told him he wasn't a champion because he didn't have a ring on his finger. Of course, his ring was ripped off his finger when MJ pried the ball loose from his fingers and went down and pushed Russell out of the way so he could hit the game winner.
So Mail-it-in-man went West in search of his gold. Well, maybe that's why no one noticed his absence because they felt he was a gold digger in search of lost treasure; well, not lost, but closely tied to playing with Shaq and Kobe. That's being harsh. He took significantlyless money to go to LA in search of his ring (a real Lord of the Rings adventure).
And now he's departed the game without fanfare, or the ring.
But maybe he's not really done? Is it possible the knee wouldn't let him play and he's now working out like a madman, or mailman, or whatever trying to position himself for a return next season and a shot at breaking the scoring record? That would be my guess.
I know Utah will fully celebrate his retirement next year, if in fact he's retired, but I think they'll be spending more time thinking of ways to roast him when he returns as an opponent. I expect the speculation of Malone's whereabouts next year to start in a few months.
Why is a Sonics fan commenting on Malone's future? Hey, Sonics fans and Malone have history. We started the free throw count; we held Malone scoreless; we have game 7's in the past. There's history.
Plus, we have a vet minimum spot. We run the pick and roll and we've been known to bring really old guys in for one last run. And we have Gaylord Perry. Yeah, Gaylord. We brought him in to win his 300th, why not bring Karl in to break the all-time scoring record in a Sonics uniform?
Karl, you can win a ring in Seattle AND earn the vet minimum. What a win-win situation.