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KJ Malone commitment article in the Salt Lake Tribune

  • >>>>>>Didn't know Karl cried when KJ signed. Very good article where we find out much about how the Malone's feel about LSU. KJ is going to be a kid the program can be proud of for more than just his name.

    College football: Son of a Mailman hopes to deliver at LSU

    College football » K.J. Malone — Karl’s kid — is one of top offensive line prospects in nation.

    By Steve Luhm

    | The Salt Lake Tribune
    First Published 6 hours ago • Updated 1 minute ago

    On the morning his son and namesake signed to play college football, Karl Malone cried.

    "Like a baby," he says. "I’m not going to lie."

    Malone, of course, spent 18 seasons as a tough-as-nails power forward with the Utah Jazz. A Hall of Famer and 14-time All-Star, he remains the No. 2 scorer in NBA history.

    Karl Malone Jr. — also known as K.J. — is a senior at Cedar Creek High School in Ruston, La. He was one of the top football recruits in the country before signing last week with LSU.

    The entire family attended the news conference called to announce K.J. Malone’s final decision, which created a whirlwind of emotions for his parents.

    "The first thing I thought about," Karl Malone said, "was the day he was born. Then I thought about the day he started playing football."

    Then, the tears.

    Recalling what she felt during her son’s signing ceremony, Kay Malone said, "We had never been through the [recruiting] process and, to finally have it end, it was like a weight lifted off our shoulders. …

    "I remembered all the work K.J. put in — all the long nights, when we talked to him about winning and losing and everything else. It was just very emotional for everybody."

    Some background:

    K.J. Malone is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman who played football and basketball into junior high. But he knew "by fourth grade" that pancaking defensive linemen would be the focus of his future.

    "I’m just very blessed," said K.J. Malone, who is as soft-spoken as his father is gregarious.

    "I’m ecstatic he’s playing football, not basketball," Karl Malone said. "With his last name, it’s already going to be a little unfair. And if he was playing basketball, what could he have done to change that?"

    After not playing much as a high school freshman, K.J. Malone slowly emerged into a three-star recruit, according to He was considered one of the top 35 prospects in football-rich Louisiana and was recruited by schools throughout the country, including Utah.

    "Those [coaches] were great," Karl Malone said. "It just didn’t work out."

    When the family visited LSU nearly a year ago, his parents came away secretly hoping their son would choose the school, located only 220 miles from Ruston.

    K.J. Malone obliged by giving Tiger coach Les Miles a nonbinding oral commitment in March.

    "When we met the coaching staff and the network people at LSU," Karl Malone said, "we knew right away that was where we wanted him to go. We didn’t say anything. He had to make up his own mind. But we knew."

    Karl Malone attended Louisiana Tech, so the jump to becoming an LSU fan creates a mild dilemma.

    "I haven’t started wearing any LSU stuff yet," he said, laughing. "I’m going to ease into it."

    At LSU, K.J. Malone is part of a recruiting class that has been ranked among the top 10 by every scouting service and college football website.

    The Tigers’ class was rated fifth by, sixth by Yahoo! and seventh by

    ESPN rated K.J. Malone as the No. 23 offensive guard prospect in the country, although his new coaches plan to move him to center.

    "Wherever they want to put me," he said. "Wherever they think I can help the team most."

    On signing day, Miles told reporters that the offensive linemen he recruited — including Malone — give this class a chance to be special.

    He laughed about recruiting a player from little Ceder Creek, a private school with a kindergarten-through-12th grade enrollment of 600 located in the rural northern Louisiana.

    "Cedar Creek High School is not necessarily a place we visit all the time," Miles said. "But we have to go in there for talented men — and that’s [Malone]. He’s a guy … that is very explosive and athletic."

    K.J. Malone’s football journey moved forward last week — on a morning his father and mother will always remember.

    "I told him, ‘Your last name is going to be a blessing and a curse. You need to decipher the difference and be your own man,’ " Karl Malone said.

    "’Everybody doesn’t like your dad and not everybody is going to like you. But never fight your dad’s battles. Fight your own battles, stay humble and enjoy what’s happening to you.’"

    College football: Son of a Mailman

    On the morning his son and namesake signed to play college football, Karl Malone cried. “Like a baby,” he says. “I’m not going to lie.” Malone, of course, spent 18 seasons as a tough-as-nails power ...

    This post was edited by chinese58 17 months ago

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  • I really like the quote at the end if that... Now if he ends up having more success than MJs kids, that's a small victory for him

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  • I had the luxury of meeting the Mailman at a couple of camps and he was so down to earth and took the approach of "I just want to do what I can to get my son's name out." He didn't take an entitled approach at all and that impressed me a lot.

    Sonny Shipp Geaux247/247 Sports 225-936-0538

  • He picked the right school.

    "That was Death Valley. It's where opponent's dreams come to die." - Miles

  • That's the way I've always found him to be. He is one NBA player that didn't let the money and the fame turn him into a caricature of himself. Other than being much smarter, he's not much different now than he was as a rookie. I think his reputation for being a jerk is a product of his rugged play & the way he deals with the national media. I don't think he trusts the media in general and was usually short with them.

    He was also a guy that everyone except the fans of the team he played for, hated (like Bruce Bowen was & Kendrick Perkins is now, like Dieon Sanders & Charles Haley were to Cowboy fans when they played for SanFran, like one guy on every NHL team is, etc.). The fans of the teams all of these guys played for love them. I hated Karl for intentionally trying to trip up Dirk to cause an ankle sprain, but Jazz fans had to love it.

    Malone played 18 years of basketball for a guy that was one of the toughest coaches in NBA history. Jerry Sloan was a "No-BS" guy and I think Karl would tell you he picked a little of that up from him. LSU fans that interact with him will probably come to appreciate him and his personality.I also think him being that way will make K.J. have a toughness about himself that will be needed in the SEC. (just my twocents)

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by chinese58 17 months ago

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  • Because his dad didn't attend LSU, I didn't think we had much of a shot at KJ, but I can tell you that I was ecstatic when he commited, and to get his signature is big. I always liked Karl and John Stockton (from Spokane where I live and an alum of Gonzaga), and felt they were one of the best guard-forward duos in the NBA. Now I get to root for his son, and that's gonna be fun!

  • I don't think his behavior on the court is why people think he's a jerk.