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Legends: Grilling Karl Malone

January 25, 2013

Karl “The Mailman” Malone said he is the master griller for Teriyaki Grill, a restaurant owned by Malone in Ruston. - Photo by Derek J. Amaya

 

DEREK J. AMAYA
Associate Managing Editor

 

This is the second entry of a series about Tech’s most prominent athletes.

 

He is 6-foot-9 and not hard to find.

 

Former Louisiana Tech Bulldogs basketball player and NBA legend Karl Malone commands the grill at his own Teriyaki Grill like he commanded the hardwood floor.

 

“I am the grill master,” Malone said. “The others are really good at grilling, but I am the master.”

 

During the 1980s, Malone totaled 1,716 points in three seasons, ranking him sixth all-time on the Bulldog career points list.

 

After leaving Tech, the two-time Olympic gold-medal winner became the second all-time leading scorer in the NBA with 36,928 points for the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.

 

“I always played with a little bit of an attitude,” he said. “Its like me against the world. People looked at me like I wasn’t good enough to play for Tech, and then people said I couldn’t play for the NBA coming out of Louisiana Tech.”

 

The one person who did not doubt his ability to play was his mother, Shirley Malone.

 

“I went for a walk with her one day and said, ‘Mom, one of these days I’m going to be famous and take care of you,’” Malone said. “A lot of people would have said to get on. She stopped, put her hand on my head and said, ‘You know what? I know you will.’”

 

Malone had to pay his first year through college because he did not handle his grades. He said he had a 1.99 GPA.

 

“If I would have went to another university, which I ain’t going to throw mud at, I would have had a 2.0 to play,” Malone said. “I came to Tech and that 2.0 went to a 1.99. I didn’t get bitter. It was my fault.”

 

He said he never went to bed at night with a basketball in his hand, saying he was going to play in the NBA. He played the game that everybody was watching. They were proud of him, and he was proud of his alma mater.

 

While he is proud of his college career, Malone feels there is a need for change at Louisiana Tech.

 

“No one ever really wants to discuss the issues,” Malone said. “I’m Tech to the core. I went here. Tech was good to me, but I was good to Tech.”

 

Malone serves his chicken fried rice and teriyaki chicken at Teriyaki Grill. - Photo by Derek J. Amaya

Malone feels like this because every athlete who has an opportunity, has a choice. He committed himself to Tech, and when he decided to move back to Ruston, he wanted to be more involved with the school because Malone and Tech gave each other opportunities to know one another.

 

“We have yet to have everybody on board as far as athlete, student and faculty,” Malone said. “There is a disconnect somewhere. When we are trying to build something special here at Louisiana Tech, there has to be some sort of connection.”

 

Malone said he has presented ways to solve issues such as parking on campus at various sites but said nobody wants to implement his ideas.

 

“Even though I did not come up with the idea, it still is a great idea,” Malone said. “I don’t know if people realize this, but we are getting smaller. Tech enrollment is down every quarter.”

 

Malone, who has children attending Tech, said many Tech supporters think the school is with the times, but there is always room for improvement.

 

“If you and I were to do something wrong, real people would hold themselves accountable,” Malone said. “If you choose to forgive me, it’s up to you. Around here, when it’s great, you see one or two people all the time. When something bad happens, you don’t see anybody.”

 

Malone said he is not one of those guys who has frequent ideas on changing things, but as a businessman, he thinks outside of the box and wants to execute all of his plans.

 

One of his ideas, Bulldog Transportation, is a way for students to get around campus instead of parking and getting parking tickets. Add a transportation fee, and he thinks this idea will be possible because students will be willing to use what they pay for.

 

Malone also has thoughts on the bowl game situation.

 

He said he would have accepted the Independence Bowl against University of Louisiana-Monroe.

 

“If we would have gotten our asses kicked, we would have gotten our asses kicked,” he said. “If the alumni have to say something, they know where I am.”

 

“The Mailman” promises to deliver for the school he said gave him just as equal opportunity as he did for them.

 

“I am Karl Malone and I approved this message,” Malone said.

 

Email comments to dja014@latech.edu.

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