by Nico Fiscella
Karl Malone is a Hall of Famer, 14-time all-star, 14-time All-NBA selection, and a two-time MVP. However, did you know about his historical connection with April 15? The Mailman had a career most NBA players dream of, and one particular day in April always stood out to him.
During his time with the Jazz, Malone played in nine games on April 15. In those nine games, the Jazz went 7-2, and Malone made his presence known in each game. Karl Malone’s career averages are already fantastic, however, he only got better on April 15.
25 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists 51.6% FG, 27.4% 3PT
Malone on April 15th: (9 Games Played)
26.4 points, 12 rebounds, 4.6 assists 56% FG 0% 3PT
Back in 1993, Malone had his best performance on this day. Against the Portland Trail Blazers, Malone finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. While the game went into overtime, the Jazz came out on top in a 122-117 victory. The duo of Karl and Jeff Malone combined for 62 points to sink Clifford Robinson and the Blazers. Robinson finished the evening with forty of his own. However, he could not stop the high-paced Utah Jazz offense.
This was one of three performances in which Malone had over 30 points on April 15. His other 30-point performances came in 1990 (32 points) and 1997 (31 points).
As previously mentioned, Malone only has two April 15 losses. In back-to-back seasons, Malone and the Jazz went home empty-handed on April 15 despite the actions of Malone. Back in 2000, the one-seeded Utah Jazz were defeated 106-83 by the San Antonio Spurs. Malone was the only Jazz to finish with over twenty points, as he had 23 on the night.
One year later, the then second-seeded Jazz lost to a young Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a 107-100 defeat, Malone had his worst statistical performance on this date. In only twenty minutes of action, Malone put up 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The 37-year-old Malone tied with Danny Manning for the third-highest scorer on the Jazz that evening. However, the combination of Garnett and Wally Szcerbiak helped Minnesota sneak into the playoffs as an eight seed.
Malone is in interesting company, as he is one of eleven players to play nine games on April 15. Armen Gilliam is sitting ahead of them with ten. Malone also shares this feat with fellow Jazz legend John Stockton, as the longtime Jazz point guard also appeared in nine games.
When looking at the twelve men who have played over nine games on April 15, Karl Malone leads the way in most statistics. The Mailman has the most points, field goals, free throws, and rebounds. While Malone sits at the top for most statistics, John Stockton leads the way with 96 assists on that day.
While oddly specific, Karl Malone can be written as the one of the best players to play on April 15. The second-highest scorer of all time has a handful of accolades and statistics to keep his legacy present. However, his strong performances on April 15 will always be a hidden gem.
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