Utah Jazz star Karl Malone and Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson both credit their mothers for giving them a desire to help others.
Malone and Thompson received the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award, given annually to one male and one female athlete who use their sports fame to do good deeds.Malone, 34, said he likes what the award recognizes.
"You're just not looked at as an athlete," he said. "You're looked at as a person."
Malone and his wife, Kay, formed the Karl Malone Foundation for Kids in an attempt to help children and their families through difficult times. He plans to give the $10,000 in award money to the foundation.
He described being driven by the desire to give back to his mother, who raised nine children as a widow, sometimes sticking cardboard in worn shoe soles to get by.
Malone once pledged to build her a brick house some day. Now, "she lives wherever she wants to live," he said.
Thompson, 25, is preparing for what might be her final Olympics in 2000. The New Hampshire native plans to enter the medical profession.