Utah Jazz star Karl Malone talked with two of his children for the first time this week while visiting his native north Louisiana.
Cheryl and Daryl Ford, 17-year-old twins who live in Malone's hometown of Summerfield, told The News-Star newspaper in Monroe that their father came to town Tuesday and wanted to talk."It meant a lot to me," Cheryl Ford said. "I'm glad he finally came around."
Said Daryl Ford: "It's going to be some hard feelings for a while. But eventually, we'll get over it and let bygones be bygones."
The twins were born June 6, 1981, the summer after Malone graduated from Summerfield High School and before he entered Louisiana Tech. A paternity suit was settled out of court and terms were not made public, although Malone's lawyer said "a significant consideration was paid in order to settle that in the benefit of the kids."
"Karl doesn't know if he's the father," said Randall Call, the attorney. "And if there's a chance - the kind of person Karl is - his thinking is I'll be happy to have a relationship with these kids . . . And that's not to come in and be their dad, because I think they already have or had a father in the house."
"Does he want to go in and have all the testing done and determine if they are or aren't? I don't think so," Call said.
The twins said Malone discussed why he had never contacted them and apologized.
"He said he wanted to spend some time with us and be a daddy," Daryl said.
Cheryl said, "It went well. But I'm keeping it between me and him."
Malone and his wife, Kay, have four children: Kadee, 6; Kylee, 5; Karl Jr., 3; and Karlee, who was born in May.
Bonita Ford, Cheryl's and Daryl's mother, told the newspaper she had mixed feelings about Malone's appearance.
"I just hope he's for real," she said. "I hope he's ready to be their daddy."
Cheryl Ford, who will be a senior at Summerfield next school year, is a 6-3 center for the Amateur Athletic Union's Monroe Magic team, left Wednesday for a tournament in Indianapolis on a bus chartered by Malone.
The twins and their mother were all in Indianapolis and could not be reached for further comment. Attempts to reach Malone through his attorney were unsuccessful Thursday.
Cheryl Ford was recently selected to play for the Junior Olympic Team. She is being recruited by Louisiana Tech, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others.
Daryl Ford, a 6-3, 198-pound forward, helped lead Class C Summerfield to the Top 28 basketball tournament last season.
Daryl was surprised Malone knew about their basketball accomplishments.
"He's been paying a lot of attention," Daryl said.