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Andrei Kirilenko describes Karl Malone and John Stockton on the court: "They had two different personalities"

As per Kirilenko, fans may have been enamored by Malone and Stockton’s chemistry for years, but on the other hand, they were “two different personalities”
Andrei Kirilenko describes Karl Malone and John Stockton on the court: 'They had two different personalities'

"AK-47" absorbed everything he could from the legendary NBA duo in the two seasons he spent with them.

If we are to hail who were the only players who came inch-close to stopping Michael Jordan from bagging NBA titles, it's hard to argue that that honor belongs to Utah Jazz's Karl Malone and John Stockton. And this is also what Andrei Kirilenko felt when he arrived in Utah in 2001.

Two different beasts, deadly as one

Having entered the league as a 19-year-old kid, Kirilenko was just like the others. He said playing with legends like Malone and Stockton on the same team felt special until he kind of got used to it and eventually took it for granted. However, "AK-47" absorbed everything he could from the legendary NBA duo in the two seasons he spent with them.

But Kirilenko was not a typical pupil. Apart from learning the trade from Malone and Stockton, he also studied the personalities of his mentors, especially on the court.

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As per Kirilenko, fans may have been enamored by Malone and Stockton's chemistry for years, but on the other hand, they were "two different personalities."

"They had two different personalities," Kirilenko told SB Nation of Malone and Stockton in 2014. "Karl had always been like a vocal leader, like always saying what to do on the floor and never give a hand to the opposite guy. John's always been a quiet leader. For example, he never says anything in the game. Always been quiet."

John was on a different planet

Despite the pair's differences, Kirilenko admired Malone and Stockton equally. However, "AK-47" noted that Stockton was an "unbelievable" player.

During Kirilenko's debut season with the Jazz, Stockton was already 39 years old, a 10-time NBA All-Star, nine-time assists champion, and definitely a future Hall of Famer. But in that particular season, Stock played and started in all of Utah's 82 games. And he did so in the following season, which happened to be his last. Stockton was 40 years old at the time.

You're mistaken if you think Stockton was no longer productive in his twilight years. In fact, in his final year, Stock still put up decent numbers, having registered 10.8 points and 7.7 assists per outing.

"The guy [Stockton], what he was doing at 40 years old, I can't repeat it," Kirilenko admitted.

Indeed, Kirilenko isn't the only one who thinks the Malone-Stockton tandem was unique. In fact, many would agree that though the pair never won a championship for Utah, what they have accomplished as a duo is still the greatest in the franchise's history.

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