Karl Malone, the Jazz's leading scorer, rebounder and character, is claiming yet another ability. In an interview Wednesday, Malone said his guarantees of the Jazz defeating Portland in the first round of the playoffs and the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal series emerged from dreams.
"I do believe I have powers, not powers to make things happen, but to sort of look in the future," Malone said. "A lot of people don't believe in that stuff, but it happens."The Trail Blazers, who return to the Salt Palace tonight for the first time since a season-ending loss May 6, will probably take great consolation in knowing their demise was determined even before they shot 43 percent in the series.
After the Blazers handled the Jazz 108-96 in Game 1 and reduced the Mailman to 5-of-16 shooting and postgame silence, Malone had a dream during a nap in the afternoon before Game 2. "I saw the Lakers in the next round . . . and we had to beat the Blazers to get to the Lakers."
After Malone scored 38 points in a 114-105 win, he promised the series would end the next week in Salt Lake City. Sure enough, the Jazz won the next two games, but only after holding off a Portland rally in one and pulling away in the fourth quarter of the other.
Against the Lakers, the Jazz were coming off a devastating two-point loss in Game 5 and seemed doomed to have the series end in the Salt Palace, but another dream led Malone to guarantee a Game 6 victory. "I had to know something," says Malone, realizing the nature of that promise. The Jazz won convincingly, 108-80.
"You guys don't believe this . . . you probably think I'm crazy," Malone told two reporters Wednesday. "It's a gift that I've got."
Malone kept the source of his guarantees from his teammates last spring. "They probably would have checked me into the crazy house or something," he says.
Informed of Malone's claims, teammate Bart Kofoed said, "Anything seems possible with Karl. Anytime you're that great of a player, you can see things other people can't. I suppose if he says he's psychic, he probably is. Who's going to argue with the guy?"
Malone figures his psychic ability comes from his mother, Shirley Malone Turner, who cites at least two occasions when she knew that Karl or an older son, Danny, were involved in accidents. "I don't know why; I just sense things," she said from Summerfield, La.
"It's like she passed it on to me," Karl, Shirley's eighth child, says of the ability.
Malone, meanwhile, declines to reveal his major prediction for the 1988-89 NBA season. "I don't really think we need the added pressure as a team," he explained. Check with him in June.