Skip to main content

“They should be honored because they got to play with me” — Greg Ostertag's epic tribute to Karl Malone and John Stockton

Ostertag explained why Stockton and Malone should be everyone's rolemodels if they want to be great in the NBA.
Karl Malone and John Stockton

Karl Malone and John Stockton

As far as greatest NBA duos go, many still consider Utah Jazz legends Karl Malone and John Stockton as the best to ever do it. Over the years, we’ve heard several NBA players rave about the pair, but none of them gave a Malone-Stockton testimonial quite as epic as former Jazz center Greg Ostertag.

It’s an honor to play with two of the best ever

For those who didn’t know, Ostertag may be freakishly big from the outside, but he's a playful kid inside. In fact, during an exclusive interview with The Salt Lake Tribune in 2017, Ostertag jokingly said that Malone and Stockton were two of the greatest of all time, but it was them who should be honored to have played with him.

It was so much fun,” Ostertag said of his time with the Jazz. “The only thing we didn’t do right was win [the championship]. I’m honored because I got to play with two of the best ever. They should be honored because they got to play with me [laughs].

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

On a serious note, Ostertag went on and revealed that in terms of work ethic, no one matched that of Malone and Stockton.

[Stockton and Malone] were two guys who came to work every day,” he added. “They worked hard at practice, on their own, in the summertime, you’re never going to find anyone who worked as hard as Karl did. … If any young player wanted to follow any players, it would be those two. Great work ethic.

Greg knew he blew it

At 7-foot-2 and 280 pounds, Ostertag often towered over everybody on the court. However, then-Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan, and even Ostertag himself, knew he wasn’t utilizing his advantage most of the time.

Sloan frequently yelled at Ostertag, but he didn’t fully understand why. But looking back at it, “Tag” realized that he was blowing it all along, and he regrets it even to this day.

The thing I’ve learned now that I’m older and wiser is that all those times Jerry [Sloan] was yelling at me, it wasn’t his fault, it was my fault,” he admitted. “I was young and dumb. I thought I knew everything.

Looking back, I blew that,” he added. “I know Jerry only wanted the best for me…I just didn’t have the work ethic I needed to have.

Having heard Ostertag reflect on his mistake, it’s kind of hard not to think, what if he was able to grasp all of that during Malone and Stockton’s prime? Would that change anything? Possibly, but we can only imagine.

JJ Redick & Phoenix Suns

JJ Redick shares what makes the Phoenix Suns an even better team and a legitimate contender this season- “I think it makes them a title contender”

Redick notes Bridges' improvements this season before saying that Bridges may be the X factor that could help the Suns emerge as title contenders this season

Charles Barkley & Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Despite not knowing his name, Charles Barkley offers a stern warning to the public if Shai Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t an All-Star starter this season

Barkley said SGA should be an All-Star starter, but couldn't manage to say his name correctly, and hilariously referred to him as Shai Alexander Gilchrist in the process

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert

"You always calling for a ball screen, f*ck all that" - Iman Shumpert discusses his on-court battles with Kevin Durant

Iman Shumpert reveals Kevin Durant was the hardest player he had to guard in his career

Larry Bird

"It makes me sick to my stomach" - Larry Bird on tanking in the NBA

If Larry Legend knew his team was tanking, he would've left it outright.

Chicago Bulls forward Toni Kukoc

"I knew when I'd come here I am going to be this rookie kid that carries bags" - Toni Kukoc on how European players felt criticized coming into the NBA

His European basketball legacy may have not mattered in the NBA, but for Kukoc, he was still the "Croatian Sensation"

New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin

“Everything after that was just basketball” — Kenyon Martin revealed the best moment of his career

For K-Mart, being drafted in the NBA was monumental but not a dream-come-true.