Throughout his 19-season NBA career, it would be hard to imagine a more hated rival of Spurs Nation than Karl Malone.
Maybe it was the Malone’s celebrated elbow that knocked out David Robinson in 1998, earning him a $5,000 fine from the league. Or the way he ripped up a “Taco Cabana” promotional pinata en route to the Jazz locker room after he was ejected one time at the old Arena. But San Antonio fans never cared much for “The Mailman” or the Utah Jazz.
But it’s a little hard to dislike him after his retirement, especially considering how .
Malone, comedian Jon Stewart, illusionist David Blaine and Admiral Mike Mullen are making a trip to visit United States troops overseas for the USO. The six-day, three-country tour has , including Kandahar Airfield, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Geronimo, FOB Delhi and Bagram Airfield, according to the Salt Lake City Deseret News.
Malone, who retired after the 2003-04 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, had some.
“We don’t do enough for our troops,” Malone said on the NBA’s official Facebook page. “I think sometimes we get the hero thing all screwed up. As an athlete, I never considered myself a hero. I just considered myself lucky to be playing.
“But these men and women of our Armed Forces, they’re the real heroes. They put their life on the line every single minute. The least I can do is to visit them and tell them thanks.”
While some athletes shunned their social responsibilities, Malone showed up unannounced after Hurricane Katrina in his home state of Louisiana with trucks and backhoes to help clean up the mess.
It’s the same with his support of the Armed Forces. Malone has real emotion for the troops overseas and doesn’t hesitate to express his appreciation.
“I have many friends and family members who have served (or are currently serving) in our nation’s Armed Forces,” Malone said in a USO press release, “and I have such a profound respect for what they do day in and day out. This USO tour is especially meaningful because of the friends I have met and I am honored to be a part of it.”
What about it Spurs Nation? Have your feelings mellowed a little towards Malone since his retirement — particularly after some of his recent good deeds?