If you grew up and watched the NBA in the 90’s Seattle Supersonics was perhaps one of your favorite teams, mostly because of the dynamic duo of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. They were a championship contender for several years in a row by having a great group of players. What was specific about that era is that every significant contender had great big men on their team, either at a center or at the power forward position. That was a substantial difference if you compare that era and the NBA today.
Shawn Kemp was one of the most electrifying players in the ’90s, and in a recent interview we did with Kemp, we talked about his playing career, where he also touched upon his greatest nemesis during that time. He says Karl Malone was that guy because he had to go up against him on multiple occasions in the regular season and the Western Conference playoffs when they faced off against the Utah Jazz.
He has a great deal of respect for Malone because of how he played the game and was a complete player who could score the basket in any given situation using various moves to get himself open. It also helped his cause because he had John Stockton to get him in the ball in the best possible position to score, which they did countless times, perfecting the pick-n-roll to the last detail.
I got a lot of respect for Karl Malone. I think he is a very good player, but I didn’t like him when we played because he gave me a number of butt whoopings, so I had to grow up real quick and give him a few of them back. But Karl Malone was a tough player to play against, tough to guard, he could shot the ball, and he could man-handle you down low, and he could shot the ball pretty good also.Karl Malone, via Basketball Network
Unfortunately for Malone, he was one of those all-time greats that didn’t end up winning the championship despite the fact he played in three NBA finals. Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls and later on the Detroit Pistons stood in his way of achieving the ultimate goal, but his accomplishments are truly remarkable. He was incredibly consistent and still to this day one of the best pure scorers in NBA history that gave everyone problems in the post, not just Shawn Kemp, who has a lot of respect for Malone and how he played the game.