Karl Malone pulls in $5 million with auction of 1992 Dream Team memorabilia

USA Men's Basketball Team vs Croatia, 1992 Summer Olympics
Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

At one of Karl Malone’s car dealerships in Utah, the Hall of Famer used to display some of his memorabilia from the 1992 Dream Team — game-worn jerseys from Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, among other items.

Wednesday night, Malone auctioned off 24 pieces of that memorabilia, netting him a cool $5 million, something reported by Darren Rovell at the Action Network.

The biggest seller was a game-worn Michael Jordan jersey from the USA’s 127-76 thrashing of Lithuania in the medal round, it went for more than $3 million.

Other items sold include $360,000 for a Larry Bird game-worn jersey and $230,400 for a Charles Barkley uniform.

Nuggets basking in Finals spotlight, enjoying rest while trying not to allow rust


Nine days.

That vacation-length time is how long the Nuggets have off between sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoffs and starting the franchise’s first ever NBA Finals. That should be long enough for what the Nuggets saw as a Lakers-centric spotlight during the Western Conference Finals — continuiing after the series ended thanks to LeBron James hinting about retirement — to come around and shine on the Nuggets.

“If anybody is still talking about the Lakers in the NBA Finals, that’s on them,” coach Michael Malone said Friday, hitting on an oldie but goodie in the Nuggets’ locker room. “They’ve gone fishing. We’re still playing.”

After the marathon grind of an NBA season followed by the finishing sprint of the playoffs, Nuggets players talked about being happy with all that time off to rest their bodies.

The concern is rust.

“That’s the thing, we take the rest, yeah, but you don’t want to pick up bad habits throughout this week…” Jamal Murray said. “We don’t want to get relaxed. I think that’s the biggest thing. We don’t want to relax and just wait. We want to stay sharp.”

“It’s impossible to keep your rhythm if you’re not playing games,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You can do whatever you want in practice, but there’s no way you can replicate playing an NBA playoff game…

“It’s a tough situation because you’re just kind of preparing for an opponent you don’t know who you’re going to play. So right now as I told our players, this is about us. We have to shore up who we are and address the areas that we have not been maybe good enough or areas that we can clean up. It’s really hard to keep your rhythm when you’re not playing NBA games, but we’ll do everything we can to try to keep the rhythm as best as possible.”

The opponent will be the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics, although it will be Saturday or Memorial Day Monday before Denver can hone its focus on one opponent.

For now, things are pretty chill.

“Right now, really just recovering, resting,” Bruce Brown said. “And then our days off have me some time to go out and golf. It’s been great.”

The golf was great?

“Yeah, the first day of golf I played pretty well. The second day was terrible,” Brown said.

Pretty soon, the golf and relaxing will be over, and the Nuggets will be adjusting to a stage they have never been on before. But they will be well rested.

PBT Podcast: Nuggets advance, LeBron talks retirement, coaching carousel


LeBron James and his retirement talk stole the headlines, but the Denver Nuggets and their play deserve to be front and center, and that’s the first topic in this week’s podcast.

Corey Robinson and Kurt Helin of NBC Sports get into what works for Denver, then dive into if LeBron is really thinking about retirement (he’s not) and what the Lakers need to do. From there there is a conversation about the Heat and if the Celtics can come back on them.

Next, for Corey’s Jukebox, it’s time to sing the blues with Johnny Lee Hooker and talk Lakers a little more. The conversation then shifts to Carmelo Anthony and his Hall of Fame career, before talking about the coaching searches around the NBA and how Nick Nurse is a hot name.

Also, would you fire Joe Mazzulla? Finally, a quick conversation about the Game of Life.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Carmelo Anthony says ‘I’m at peace’ retiring without ring


Carmelo Anthony is one of the great bucket-getters basketball has ever seen, a physical player who could score at all three levels and was an elite tough shot-maker. He is ninth all-time in scoring for good reason, a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer.

However, in some dark corners of the basketball universe, the first thing mentioned when Anthony announced his retirement Monday was that he never won a ring.

Anthony has come to peace with that, he told Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated.

“I’m at peace. That doesn’t bother me no more; that idea that you’re a loser if you don’t win a championship,” he says. “For me, I’ve won. I won back in 2003, the night I shook David Stern’s hand on that [draft] stage. I made it out of Red Hook. I’ve won at life. The ring is the only thing I didn’t get. It would’ve been a great accomplishment, but I don’t regret it, because I feel like I did everything I could to get it.”

Anthony has won at the highest levels. If he ever doubts that he can look at his three Gold Medals as a reminder.

The “ringzzzzz” culture can be one of the most exasperating aspects of some NBA fandom, the binary nature of “you win it all or you failed” can suck the fun out of the ride. Like life, the joy is in the journey, not simply the destination. Championships matter, but they are not the end all and be all, to win one takes more than being a great player, it takes a great team (put together by others) and luck. To fall short is not automatically a personal failing.

Anthony had a career every high schooler dreaming of the NBA would take in a heartbeat. He will forever be a legend.

It’s good that Anthony has come to peace with this. He should be proud and enjoy the celebration of his career.


Three takeaways from Nuggets overcoming LeBron to sweep Lakers out of playoffs


LOS ANGELES — On the doorstep of the franchise’s first-ever trip to the NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets were loose.

During pregame warmups a couple of hours before tip-off they were joking around, with DeAndre Jordan adding vocal exclamations to players’ dunks, and Jeff Green jokingly pushing around a coach trying to post him up. Nikola Jokić closed his warmup with a dunk against the poor, undersized assistant tasked with providing token defense — then Joker laughingly hit him with the “too small” taunt.

Maybe the Nuggets were a little too casual to start Game 4 Monday night as LeBron James and the Lakers got off to a 15-point halftime lead. However, the Nuggets found their focus in the second half, they were once again more clutch than the Lakers and pulled out the 113-111 win.

The Nuggets are headed to the franchise’s first NBA Finals (which do not start until June 1), while the Lakers are headed to an interesting offseason.

Here are three takeaways from the closeout game.

1) LeBron was not ready for his 20th season to end, carried Lakers

At age 38, in his 20th season, LeBron James was the best player on the floor of a conference finals game.

Think about that for a second.

He played all but four seconds and almost willed his team to a victory (like he did for lesser teams 15 years ago). LeBron came out on fire shooting 7-of-9 on his way to 21 first-quarter points. He kept rolling and finished the first half scoring 31 points — his highest-scoring half in the playoffs ever — on 11-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.

How well were things going for LeBron early? Everything was going in, even his passes.

LeBron’s effort and playing with force dragged the Lakers into the game despite it feeling like some of his teammates were mentally already on vacation already, down 0-3 in the series. The Lakers were getting the ball into the paint with dribble penetration, getting stops and running, making good decisions with their passes, and doing the things coach Darvin Ham had hoped they would do all series. The Lakers led 73-58 at the half, with an insane 156.5 offensive rating for the first 24 minutes.

Lakers fans were daring to dream a little…

2) In the second half, the Nuggets showed why they are the better team

The Denver Nuggets are just better than these Lakers.

That quickly became evident after halftime when the Nuggets went on a 23-6 run, quickly making it a close game, and then Denver took its first lead at 4:39 left on an and-one from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

“Probably the best team that we’ve played since we’ve been together for our four years,” LeBron said of the Nuggets.

“They don’t have holes in their system. They’re not missing anything,” Austin Reaves said. “You got two guys — you got Jamal and you got Jokic — and then you have, literally, if you get to hand pick a team as far as system fit, this is it. You got a cutter in Gordon, you got guys that can really shoot the ball, and then you got like, not dirty players but like ‘do the dirty work’ stuff in Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, and you even go to their bench. It’s really just a really good basketball team all in all.”

After LeBron emptied his tank in the first half he had to pick his spots in the second half, while at the same time the Nuggets were far more dialed in on defense. Plus, Jokić got rolling on his way to a 30-point, 14-rebound and 13-assist triple-double. That is Jokic’s eighth triple-double these playoffs, the most for one player in one postseason ever. He has now averaged a triple-double over two consecutive series.

Jokić hit what proved to be the game-winner on a drive and an awkward runner across the lane.

LeBron had a chance to tie as time expired but Jamal Murray read the play — he said postgame he remembered it as something the Lakers ran before against Indiana — slid down as the help defender and tied up LeBron, preserving the 113-111 win.

Murray added 25 points and Aaron Gordon had his best game of the series, finishing with 22 points and playing good defense.

The Nuggets deserve to celebrate a historic accomplishment — the franchise’s first trip to an NBA Finals. It also validates Jokic, Murray and the organization’s faith in them. Monday night was the best night in Nuggets franchise history.

3) LeBron’s cryptic postgame comments will dominate the next day’s stories

Celebrating the Nuggets’ accomplishments will have to wait (with more than a week before the Finals start, there is time). For now, LeBron will dominate the headlines — and not for his 40-point game.

Near the end of his postgame press conference, LeBron James answered a question about how he personally evaluates the season.

“It was a very challenging season for me, for our ballclub, and obviously we know whatever went on early on [in the season]…” LeBron said.” It was cool, a pretty cool ride. But I don’t know. I don’t know. I think it was okay. I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career. You know, I don’t get a kick out of making a Conference [Finals] appearance. I’ve done it, a lot. And it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the Finals.

“But we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.

Did he mean retirement? Really? Other reports say yes.

Inside real-time in the press conference, at least to my ears, LeBron’s comments read as a combination of exhaustion, frustration, and a shot across the bow of the Lakers’ front office that they need to go all-in on next season.

The exhaustion and frustration were obvious to anyone who watched the game — he just played all but four seconds of a 48-minute game and dropped 40 points while carrying his team, which was not enough. And remember all of that was on a sore foot that he likely has to have surgery on after the season.

Which leads to his not-so-subtle message to GM Rob Pelinka and the front office. LeBron can summon up the occasional legendary performance as he did in Game 4, but he can’t carry the team like he had to for too much of this season. Anthony Davis is Anthony Davis, and LeBron wants more help. Elite help. (Kyrie Irving was courtside for Game 4 and is a free agent. LeBron has played with him before, and while league sources say Lakers management is hesitant to add Irving to the mix — and he most likely re-signs in Dallas anyway — it was hard to ignore the imagery.)

The Lakers will have to pay more than they want to keep Austin Reaves, and they will likely re-sign Rui Hachimura too after his performance these playoffs. LeBron’s postgame comments loom more as a threat to push management into bold moves beyond keeping Reaves and Rui — and to spend, not just try to do more with less next season.

Don’t bet on LeBron retiring, especially if he thinks he can play in the league with his son Bronny in a couple of years. But being swept out of the playoffs will make a man re-evaluate things.