Perhaps one of Karl Malone’s biggest obstacles (and one he was never able to overcome) was the sheer greatness of Michael Jordan. Six titles in seven years, MJ’s Bulls was the team that prevented Malone and the Jazz from winning a title in the 90s.
Still, after all that, Malone doesn’t even have Jordan in his top five.
A few years ago, in an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, he revealed his All-Time starting five: Stockton, Robertson, Pippen, James, and Wilt.
“My all-time starting five: I gotta have Wilt Chamberlain as my center. I gotta have John Stockton as my point guard,” Malone told Patrick. “I’m going to put LeBron James at my power forward position. … I gotta put Oscar Robertson at my 2-guard. My other guy … I’m gonna shock the world. I have to put Scottie Pippen at the 3. … Scottie Pippen led the [Bulls] in every statistical category when he was there without Michael Jordan. That’s why I gotta put Scottie Pippen.”
Malone seemed to dodge any question that involved Jordan. Whatever happened between those two, it’s clear that the former Utah big man doesn’t hold him in very high regard.
Patrick: Who would you rather have as a teammate: Jordan or LeBron?
Malone: Hold on, hold on: Do you have a man-crush on Michael Jordan today? What’s the deal here? I’m just asking that question here. [Does] Dan Patrick, my friend, my buddy, have a man-crush on Jordan today?
Malone: OK, all right. Go ahead.
Michael Jordan is almost unanimously considered the greatest basketball player ever. He’s a 14x All-Star, 10x Scoring Champ, 5x MVP, and 6x NBA champion. He averaged 30 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game on 49% shooting.
So while Malone’s list is riddled with top-tier NBA talent, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who agrees that Michael Jordan shouldn’t be among the top five.