Karl Malone is back working with the Utah Jazz as a special assistant coach — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and the rest of the young Jazz front line are now learning the tricks of the Mailman.
And Malone is focused on that — at least until next month and his annual hunting trip, he told Rod Sundel of KLS.com.
“To keep me from being late to practices I didn’t bring my [camouflage], gun or a bow. I left them home so my focus was to come here every day.” he said.
Malone is about as old school as it gets while Favors and Kanter are very young and new school. Situation comedy level humor ensues.
“I’m not concerned with your elbow pads, your knee pads, all of your garb and your full body armor. What do you need all that for? Our soldiers need that in Iraq and they’re doing a hell of a job for us. Take all that off! We don’t need that. What I need you to do is show up and be ready to play. That’s it.
“I had one of my ‘bigs’ today and he had body armor from his thigh to his neck. I ask him what he was doing and he said he was protecting himself. I said ‘Who you protecting yourself [from]?’ There’s no sniper in this building! Man up! If you’re hurt, see the trainer and play the game.”
What really matters is if they are listening and learning (it doesn’t always work that well, remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Andrew Bynum). Malone said the first day was rough but he comes back the next day and the guys were there early to work. That’s a good sign.
We’ll see how it starts to show on the court. Favors and Kanter could be part of a good Jazz frontcourt in a few years, if they develop. They certainly have an instructor who knows the game.