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Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone going strong at 50 years old
(Tribune file photo)  

Karl Malone, right, and John Stockton played most of their Jazz career with Jerry Sloan, left, as their coach.
Karl Malone is fired up as the Jazz take the lead after trailing the Sonics most of the first half.  photo by Danny La. 03/07/2001
(Steve Griffin  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

 Karl Malone smiles in the 1993 All Star Game at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Saturday, February 21, 1993.
(Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Karl Malone gets off a shot against the defense of Larry Nance during the 1993 NBA All-Star Game at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
(Karl Malone, left, and John Stockton played together for the Jazz for 18 seasons. 

Rick Egan/Tribune file photo)
Former Utah Jazz player Karl Malone talks to the media about Jerry Sloan's departure before the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz on Monday, Feb. 11, 2011, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Former Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone poses with his statue prior to the retirement of his basketball jersey Thursday, March 23, 2006, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Former Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone smiles after kissing the bronze foot of former teammate John Stockton at the unveiling ceremony of his statue prior to the retirement of his basketball jersey Thursday, March 23, 2006, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
A fan holds a "Malone for President" sign as Karl Malone, foreground right, talks to the crowd at the retirement of his basketball jersey Thursday, March 23, 2006, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Former Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone, left, his wife Kay and their daughter Sheryl, right, smile as they look at his retired basketball jersey hanging in the rafters Thursday, March 23, 2006, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Former Utah Jazz player Karl Malone talks to the media about Jerry Sloan's departure before the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz on Monday, Feb. 11, 2011, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Former professional basketball player Karl Malone, right, presents the trophy after Sprint Cup Series's Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Sprint Cup series NRA 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway  Saturday, April 13, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Game official Hue Hollins watches as Utah Jazz's Karl Malone, left, and  Chicago Bull's Dennis Rodman collide in the second half of Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 14, 1998. Rodman was called for a foul on the play.(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
(Tribune file photo)  

NBA commissioner David Stern presents Karl Malone the MVP trophy for the 1996-97 season.
(Jeremy Harmon  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  

Karl Malone talks to reporters about Jerry Sloan's resignation before the Jazz game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, February 11, 2011.
(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune)  


Karl Malone talks with members of the media, at EnergySolutions Arena, prior to being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall Of Fame in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.
Utah Jazz teammates and co-Most Valuable Player winners John Stockton, left, and Karl Malone hold up the All-Star MVP trophy after playing for the West team, which won the 43rd NBA All-Star game, 135-130, in Salt Lake City, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1993.  Malone holds his daughter, Kaydee.  (AP Photo/Roberto Borea)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2010 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone speaks during his enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. Friday, Aug. 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone, who turns 50 on Wednesday, has made one concession to age.

He bought a mule.

During 18 seasons with the Jazz and one with the Los Angeles Lakers, Malone was known as a fitness fanatic who willed himself into the Hall of Fame.

“In 30 years,” says Jazz strength coach Mark McKown,” I’ve never seen anybody with the same capacity for work, the same drive or the same intensity.”

Malone’s passion for fitness is matched by his love of hunting and fishing. Hiking through the thick forests and rolling hills of Louisiana and Arkansas in pursuit of game has been a favorite hobby since his mother, Shirley, first allowed him to do so.

Malone has always done the strenuous physical work his pastime requires by himself — at least until recently.

Story continues below

“Instead of being the athlete and walking everywhere, he got himself a mule,” said Kay Malone, his wife. “… I think he’s listening to his body more. He’s preserving himself more. He wants to be able to do things with the grandkids.”

Don’t misunderstand.

Malone is still a workaholic when it comes to hitting the weights or taking grueling bike rides near the family’s home in Ruston, La. Three days before his 50th birthday, in fact, Malone asked a reporter to call him back “in three hours,” when he’d be finished working out.

“To be honest with you, it helps make me a better person,” he said. “It takes the edge off. When I sweat, it gets me going.”

There’s another reason Malone still weighs 256 pounds — his playing weight.

One of his new projects is mentoring the Jazz’s young players — specifically power forward Derrick Favors and center Enes Kanter.

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At a glance

Karl Malone file

Hometown » Summerfield, La.

Born » July 24, 1963

Residence » Ruston, La.

Position » Power forward

Height » 6-9. Weight » 256 pounds

Career highlights » No. 2 scorer in NBA history (36,928 points). … Missed 10 games in 18 seasons with Jazz (1986-2003). … Played one season with the L.A. Lakers (2003-04). … Averaged 25.4 points and 10.2 rebounds during his career. … Two-time Most Valuable Player (1997, 1999). … Played on two gold medal-winning Olympic teams (1992, 1996). … Named to the All-NBA first team 11 times. … Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

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