Despite being a star athlete, the Jazz's Karl Malone says there's more to life than basketball. Last week it was obvious he was looking forward to his marriage (scheduled to take place Monday in Salt Lake).
After beating the Charlotte Hornets, he talked with reporters about his plans for the future, and they don't necessarily include basketball."I'm not doing this the rest of my life," he said. "When I leave this game, I'll still be the happy guy I am right now."
Apparently he plans to become a family man. He continued on the subject of his post-playing days by saying, "I'm going to relax and have a little family and I'm just going to live. That's why I take life one day at a time and have a good time."
BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE . . . : Last week during the Jazz's swing through New Jersey, players began to razz assistant coach Gordon Chiesa about his New Jersey connections (he has family living there). "The turnpike's beautiful this time of the year, isn't it, Gordie?" said one.
For some reason, a trip to New York/New Jersey seems to bring out inevitable comparisons. Chiesa said among his favorite cities are Salt Lake City, San Diego and Hoboken, New Jersey.
"Hoboken?" said assistant Phil Johnson, a native Idahoan. "You obviously haven't seen Paris, Idaho."
CHIPPING AWAY AT THE NUGGETS: Louisiana State Coach Dale Brown, never one to avoid controversy, is at it again. This time it is over the Denver Nuggets' treatment of rookie guard Chris Jackson, who played for Brown.
A story last week out of Denver quoted team G.M. Bernie Bickerstaff as saying Jackson needs to "stop bitching and work and play basketball."
Brown responded that Bickerstaff is insensitive to a rare neurological disorder Jackson has, called Tourette Syndrome.
"If he (Bickerstaff) wants to destroy Chris Jackson, all he has to do is keep putting statements like that in the newspapers," said Brown.
"That shows right there that there's a lack of sensitivity. You don't have to be a Rhodes scholar to understand you don't talk like that to someone afflicted with a neurological disorder."
USA Today's Peter Vecsey got in the last shot of anyone - but it was at Brown. He wrote, "Brown's probably ticked off because the Nuggets outbid LSU for Jackson."
WRATH OF THE ELEMENTS: And you thought a basketball game couldn't be rained out? Well, the NBA has had its share of strange weather problems already this season. A November 28 game between Boston and Atlanta was postponed - rescheduled for today - on Nov. 28 due to water condensation on the Boston Garden floor. The players kept slipping on the moisture and were unable to continue.
The latest weather-related problem came last Tuesday in Seattle. The Sonics-Orlando game was delayed due to a six-inch snowfall which snarled traffic. Even Sonics' Coach K.C. Jones didn't arrive in time for the tipoff. Orlando's team bus took over an hour to travel two miles from the hotel to the arena.
Of the 10,300 tickets sold for the game, only about 100 people were in attendance at starting time.
However, the game went on as scheduled, with the Sonics winning by 17.
SILVER LINING: A lot of teams have been accused of it, but nobody would admit to doing it on purpose - throwing games to get a higher draft choice.
But with LSU's Shaquille O'Neal taking the colleges by storm these days, people have got to think about it.
Spurs Coach Larry Brown says O'Neal is something a bad team would have to consider a good consolation prize for losing.
"He's the type of player that if your team was losing a lot, you might be able to crack a little smile, because the more you lost, the better chance you'd have at getting him in the draft lottery."
That, however, is an easy enough statement for Brown to make. His Spurs are leading the Midwest Division.
SCHOOL TALK: The Mailman has a special Christmas message to deliver this year to school-age kids: Don't quit.
The NBA will be debuting nine stay-in-school commercials soon, and two of them will air on NBC, Dec. 25 when the Bulls and Pistons play. One of the two will include Malone, who will be shown in some game situations, as well as reflecting on what an eduation means.
Malone has donated money to his former high school for improving facilities.
Other players who will be featured in the public service announcements include Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Isiah Thomas, David Robinson, Kevin McHale, Doc Rivers, Charles Barkley and J.R. Reid.
Speaking of announcements, Malone will be filming commercials for his new L.A. Gear shoe in early January. The ads will be aired on Super Bowl Sunday.
SELF-APPRAISAL: If you're only as good as you think, it's no wonder the Mailman is an All-Star. As he signed autographs at an Orlando airport last week, someone asked him if he was had a big following in that city. Smiled Malone, "I'm big everywhere."
He is also bad. Attached to his denim jacket is a pin that says one word: Attitude.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: As the Jazz await their game with Miami tonight, there is this observation from Philly's Charles Barkley after the Sixers beat the Heat on Friday: "This is just a game to get over with. We play a real game tomorrow night (against Detroit). Good teams come in here, win and go on."
This report includes some materials gathered from other news sources.