Every old school NBA fan knows the legacy of the Karl Malone-John Stockton duo in Utah. They rivaled against the greatest dynasties in NBA history and in the process, developed a great friendship on and off the court. But what Stockton didn’t know, Malone didn’t see him as a co-star. He looked up to him as a big brother.
“What John Stockton doesn’t know is that he is like one of my older brothers to me, and not because he gives me the ball on the break. Mess with Stockton and you mess with me,” Malone told Sports Illustrated in 1988.
A lasting connection
Malone and Stockton played together for 18 consecutive seasons with the Utah Jazz. They etched their names in history books and are widely regarded as the greatest NBA duo to never win a championship.
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Behind the incredible chemistry, Malone and Stockton also had their differences. Malone was more open to a little back and forth, while Stock earned quite a reputation for being a silent killer on the court. But unlike other dynamic NBA duos, Malone and Stockton got along well for the better part.
C-Webb almost received a mail
One more thing about the Malone-Stockton duo, they don’t squabble with their competition. They seldom engaged with petty on-court fights and just let their game do the damage. But make no mistake, when it really comes down to it, “The Mailman” got his big brother’s back.
Recalling one instance where he almost clapped back at an NBA peer for playing dirty on Stockton, Malone said he once went so close to letting Chris Webber have it. Happily for C-Webb, Stock was tough as nails and just shook off a hard elbow from the then-Sacramento Kings power forward.
“I love Chris Webber, but this was one time where I wanted to kick his ass. Right? So we had been wearing them out – at home – and Chris Webber started at half court looking for John Stockton. On the flip side, I say ‘Good on you Chris, for studying the playbook.’ And we ran that four up and he didn’t even care. He hit Stockton right in the sternum with his elbow. I damn near felt it and [it] hurt. …I felt so bad I went over to Coach [Jerry] Sloan and I said, ‘Coach, don’t run that again, please.’ Stock looked at me and said ‘No, I’m good’ and the next play– well, you know,” Malone recounted.