Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone believes his hard work has led him to more success than others who were more talented than him. Malone, a two-time MVP, admitted Chris Webber, Derrick Coleman, and Charles Barkley were more talented than him but he was a better player.
Malone played for Utah Jazz between 1985 and 2003 before finishing his NBA career with a year at Los Angeles Lakers. Coming into the Jazz side as a first-round pick in 1985, he went on to be an integral part of that team. He made it to the playoffs in every season in his NBA career.
However, he does not have any titles to his name. He was closest to winning a title in 1997 and 1998 when Jazz lost to Chicago Bulls in the finals for two consecutive seasons. He also featured in another NBA finals in 2004 with the Lakers but lost to Detroit Pistons.
Karl Malone: Charles Barkley was more talented than him
After 19 years in the NBA, Malone finished with 36,928 points- the second most in the history of NBA behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While Malone is indeed one of the greatest players in the NBA, he said a few players in his generation were more talented than him.
“I’m going to tell you, three guys that had more talent than Karl Malone — Chris Webber, Derrick Coleman, and Charles Barkley,” Malone said on the Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast. “More talent. More talent. But, they didn’t outwork me.”
While Webber and Coleman were good players, not many would put them ahead of Malone in the pecking order. Even Malone himself said he was a better player but they were more talented. Malone felt they could have been better players with their talent.
Barkley, meanwhile, is also among the best players in the league. Two teams- Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns- retired Barkley’s No. 34 after honoring him. The 1993 NBA MVP, played 16 years in the NBA and was an 11-time All-Star.
Malone admitted Barkley was among those who were more talented than him but not better than him.
“I would never use the term, ‘he was better than me,’” Malone said. “More talented is different.”