One of the National Basketball Association greats has decided to call it quits. Karl Malone, who has not played this season because of injuries, officially announced his retirement Sunday at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. Malone made the long-expected announcement at the home arena of the Utah Jazz, the team he played with for 18 of his 19 seasons.
"I would like to officially announce my retirement from the game of basketball, playing-wise," he said. "Now, where that leads to after that, in some capacity, we will sit down and make that decision as a family."
Malone, 41, also promised that he would not attempt to make a comeback on the court. In his words, "You will not see me play again. That is a promise."
Karl Malone played his first 18 seasons with the Jazz before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the hope of claiming the NBA title that eluded him throughout his career. But he missed almost half the 2003-2004 season with injuries and the Lakers were beaten in five games by the Detroit Pistons in last year's NBA Finals.
"The thing that will stick with me for the rest of my life is not winning a championship," he said. "I am not going to lie to you. That was my ultimate goal, but that was a team goal, not an individual goal."
Nicknamed "the Mailman" for his ability to deliver in key games, the two-meters-six Malone was selected as one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History" in 1996. He won the league's Most Valuable Player award twice, in 1997 and 1999, and finishes his career in second place on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 36,928 points, just 1,459 behind the record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In addition to his achievements in the NBA, Malone was also a member of gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic "Dream Teams" in 1992 and 1996.