Utah Jazz: Isiah Thomas blasts Karl Malone for being 'weakest link,' costing Jazz titles

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  • Kakashi Tokyo, Japan
    Oct. 6, 2013 11:00 p.m.


    the Rockets build a team around Yao...what happened?...The Spurs initially built around Robinson...it was until they got Duncan that got them a win....hmmm...how about Patrick Ewing and the Knicks?.....you still cannot say that a 7 footer can guarantee you a championship....yes...Karl Malone has his flows....but if you stacked the team that went to the finals...against the other teams...i think the Jazz were the underdogs...they just happened to execute plays efficiently...however...during the finals against the bulls there were some errors on the part of our team...i think if we had a better C than Ostertag....and a deeper bench...we would've won those two...

  • Kakashi Tokyo, Japan
    Oct. 6, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    I dont think that the Jazz vs the Bulls in both finals were equally matched...i mean...we got Ostertag...If we had a better C than Ostertag...we would have won...plus...Toni Kukoc back then was a matchup nightmare....6'11 SF...that could shoot the three...and that's their 6th man...

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:52 p.m.

    The rivalry was before the blow to the eye.

    Just before the game in 1991, Thomas was bad-mouthing Stockton in the media for making the Oly dream team that didn't pick him.

    When Isiah came onto the floor of the Salt Palace the Salt Lake crowd went crazy. They wanted to see blood and they got it.

  • Mountain Bird West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    And this coming from a man who's stint with the Knicks was a total disaster, or rather, a big joke. I think Isiah (and, yes, this is the way Zeke spells it) could use another Malone elbow to the head. Without Karl Malone, the Jazz would have never tasted the playoffs, let alone the NBA finals.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 4, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    It never ceases to amaze me how grown men (not grown up men) do not hesitate to make utter fools of themselves in public. Mr. Thomas.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    Oct. 4, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    If the old saying "takes on to know one" is true, then Thomas might be right about Malone, Thomas was THE weak link of the cast of main players on Detroit's championship teams in the 80's. Dumars was the guard who really got things done, Thomas was just there for the show. Very few of the Pistons that I liked, but you throw in Sally, Dantley, Agguire, Rodman, Laimbeer, Edwards, and they all worked their butts off and got things done.

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    Let see...

    Isaiah won championships,

    Karl Malone won none.

    Jazz were carried by player who could not create his own shot.

    Detroit was lead by player who could, and often took over games in the fourth quarter when needed.

    Karl malone was often denied even touching the ball in the fourth quarter with teams forcing the Jazz to depended on benoit or russell.

    Isaiah very good free throw shooter,

    Karl Malone average at best.

    Karl no defense above the waist.

    Isaiah a great all around defensive player.

    I believe in 1990 the Jazz should've traded Malone, and still do. A few winning seasons with false hope for more not withstanding.

    I believe it is and was a mistake to build around player who can not create their own shot or big man who is not a 7-footer.

    The a jazz not winning a championship with jordon out the league, even with it taking a lucky shot in Houston, even in a shorten season with Duncan proving better, building around position players and not great b-ball players,

    proves my point, the jazz could not win a championship with players they had. You must have the right players.

  • Fubecao Bellevue, WA
    Oct. 4, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    Let's prove or disprove Thomas's theory. For each of the Jazz's 8 losses to the Bulls in their two Finals appearances, (1) how many points did the Jazz lose by, and (2) how many free throws did Malone miss? I'm too lazy to look it all up, but if I were a newspaper reporter and it were my job to find out the facts, those are some facts that are pretty relevant to this argument and to this story.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 4, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Thomas is still smarting about his injury and Stockton being selected for the Olympic games over him. The Jazz of that era some lost games because of foul shooting and they won games with it. What beat the Jazz in the championship playoff games with Chicago was some vert bad calls and a propensity for referees to give superstar Jordan a lot of leeway.

  • stanfunky Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    "That’s a weak link, because at the end of a game when you are playing at that level, you come down to the last 30 seconds or the last minute of the game, if that guy can’t make fouls shots then he’s the weak link."

    Coming from the man with a 75.9% career free throw percentage (compared to Malone's 74.2%).

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    So, Isaiah thinks that Antoine "Big Dawg" Carr could have won a ring if he started for the Jazz instead of Malone?

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    Looks like article spells name wrong, isn't it Isaiah, not Isiah? Anyway, the Jazz don't go to the NBA Championship without Karl Malone..."what do Karl do"...Karl scores, rebounds, defends, adds fun personality to lead the team. That's what he did.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    The two free throws at the end of their first Finals game are what people remember. Both were in and out. It's not like he went up there, knees a-quiver, and bricked them. Does it matter? No; a miss is a miss. But he didn't shoot them like a guy who expected to miss. I feel for the guy. He did turn himself from a brutal, sub-Shaqquish free-throw shooter to a 75%+ guy. I'll always respect him for that work ethic.

    My disappointment in Karl was in their second finals. In game 1 in particular (and game 2, until the last minutes), for whatever reason he seemed scared out of his mind. I'd never seen him play that timidly or indecisively. I wouldn't say he was afraid to fail; I think he was afraid to succeed.

  • Chuckleberry SANDY, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    Shaq missed a couple free throws in his carreer too... Wonder what Thomas has to say about that. And I would love to see Thomas take on Malone in any type of venue. Even a freee throw contest would be fun. Now I remember why I hated the Pistons so much.

  • Tuffy Parker Salem, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    Jazz Source is right on. Calling Malone the weak link due to a missed freethrow or two is ridiculous and completely out of context.

    That's like calling out KD for not winning a championship in OKC or LBJ in Cleveland.

    In the realm of the NBA Finals, every possession, every shot, every freethrow matters. Kobe, MJ, Magic, Bird have all missed shots or had other mistakes that may have impacted the outcome of a particular game. When the Jazz and Bulls played in the Finals, they were pretty evenly matched teams. The Bulls got a few breaks that determined the outcome, the Jazz didn't.

    BTW, Isaiah has always been better at running his mouth than anything else he's accomplished.

  • Chuckleberry SANDY, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Hate to mention it... but the REFS were the wink link. They took 3 away from the Jazz and gave two to the Bulls in the last playoff game due to horribly wrong shot clock calls. Hard to overcome the refs stealing five points from the Jazz. So... the Jazz really did win that game, no matter the official score. Oh, well... at least we had a Malone to cheer for instead of a Thomas to jeer at.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Oct. 4, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    As a Blazer fan, I remember what it was like in the finals. It was like we were not wanted there as a small market team. Utah got the same treatment.

    Yes I agree this is old school talk. Isaiah "Red Lobster" Thomas was only a leader for the Pistons. His other NBA experiments were flops.

    We see a little of Shaq or Barkley on TV calling out Dwight Howard etc. 99% of the NBA players today couldn't handle old school criticism. They rely on Twitter rather than getting in someone's face. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Malone, Rodman..... In the face of Burger King James, Wade, C. Anthony.....No way.
    Kevin Garnett, Kobe and Duncan are the only ones I can think of that could handle it. They are veterans from another era.

  • Hank Jr Draper, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Who exactly is Crysiah Thomas? Is he the teeny tiny little point guard who ran into the Mail Man's elbow and required a couple of stitches?

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Oct. 4, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    Zeke is weak.

    Malone's a stone.

    Leo, good stuff.

  • Jazz Source Alpine, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    If things happened a in a vacuum then maybe Thomas would have some measure of credibility but he has none.

    In a vacuum and without context sure Malone missed the freethrow and no doubt it was big. Do they get to the playoffs without Malone literally carrying 2-3 players on his back as he rolls into the hoop to lay it in night after night? Do the Jazz get to a Finals playoff series with the Bulls without him leading the NBA in FT attempts?

    Just like a field goal in football to win/tie the game with few seconds remaining. Why is your team in that situation? Because the team wasn't good enough to be further ahead so while it appears to be on one guy it really isn't. Its about the team result that got you to that point.

    Thomas on the other has been a failure at almost everything he has done, basketball related, since he left the Pistons a long time ago.

    As the saying goes Thomas "You are the weakest link, Goodbye"!

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    The NBA cry babies turning on each other

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    @ Leo: Pretty funny stuff!

  • Leo Femedlers El Paso, TX
    Oct. 4, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Isiah 6:4 And the Mailman came down upon me with his 'bow and whacked my brow.

    Malone 40:4 Be still and know that I am the Mailman.

    Isiah 10:5 The grapes that I shall deliver unto thee shall be bitter and not sweet.

    Malone 33:3 I will crush thy grapes and grind them to powder leaving neither root nor branch nor anything like unto grapes.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Oct. 4, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    All I can say is, who is isiah thomas?
    His choices since retiring have been lets say questionable.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    I'm not really a Malone defender, but Thomas made some ludicrous statement.

  • Ifel Of'a-sofa Alpine, Utah
    Oct. 4, 2013 7:09 a.m.

    I always had an issue with Malone in the playoffs... his stats always seemed to decline in the playoffs while other teams big names seemed to increase.

    That being said, I was at the "elbow" game and I never shed a tear for Isiah... what a weasel!

  • JMT Springville, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 6:02 a.m.

    I'm glad this came up. Reminds me of some of my favorite sports memories ever. I absolutely LOVED those years. And yes, I still think the refs cashed in for his airness Jordan. Maybe honest officiating and it would have brought about a Jazz title or two.

    Awesome years. And of course, without Malone's toughness they wouldn't have made the Conference Finals let alone the NBA Finals.

  • Wasatch Rebel Kearns, Utah
    Oct. 4, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    Karl carried that team on his big, strong back. He was NOT a bad free-throw shooter. All-time? He may not have won a championship, but he was the best player on a great team, one that would've likely have won two championships had they not been facing the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan. Hey, that's it. Thomas not only resents Malone for the elbow, but also because Malone didn't beat Isiah's enemy, Jordan.

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    Oct. 4, 2013 12:28 a.m.

    No wonder the Grapes are Sour ... Isaiah delivered them 20 years too late.

  • ChristoperB Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 12:25 a.m.

    Was a big Malone fan. Still a big Malone fan.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 9:54 p.m.

    Isiah Thomas may be right, but why bring it up in 2013?

    Is Thomas looking to get back into sports broadcasting? Looking at his tract record as a GM, pro coach and college coach, broadcasting is probably the only thing Isiah would be any good at.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    And what good does it do to bring up the past?? You can do nothing about it. And Thomas is the biggest failure at being a GM. He needs to go stir the pot somewhere else..

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 8:11 p.m.

    without Karl the Jazz wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Malone is a hall of fame player and #2 in scoring next to Kareem. The Mail Man WAS the Utah Jazz during their best years.