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Malone Goes to Heart of Matter

June 07, 2004|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

In August, Terry Malone insisted the Lakers needed his brother, at least as much as Karl Malone needed them, and you'd excuse him for his bias.

On Sunday night, he stood courtside at Staples Center for the first time since, pleased he'd been right all along.

"I told you that because I know my brother," he said. "My brother is sensitive. He knows how to talk to the young fellas."

In an organization in need of a grown-up every once in a while, Karl Malone was a daily big-brother figure for Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. By spring, his season-long guidance helped calm them when they were down, two games to none, to the San Antonio Spurs, and his play against Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett pushed them through to the NBA Finals.

Yup, said Terry Malone.

"When he was in Utah, everybody said he was a dirty player, throwing elbows all the time, and that's all anyone knew," he said. "If that's what you know, then you really don't know Karl. Karl is a caring person. He's loving. In life, you've got to give, and he gives them wisdom and knowledge. Everybody doesn't know that. From Karl, it's from the heart."

For a couple of weeks, Terry Malone left behind the lumber company in El Dorado, Ark., he runs for Karl. He brought his wife and children to Los Angeles, where they'll spend their days at his brother's house in Newport Beach and their nights watching basketball.

When they're apart, Terry and Karl talk on the telephone every day. But this is different.

"The satisfaction right now, he hasn't gotten it yet," he said. "The situation right now is this."

Terry Malone held up four fingers.

"I don't care if it's four out of seven or what," he said. "As long as it's four. ... I want it to be over. I want him to win four and have it be over."


Phil Jackson wasn't always sure he would become a coach, so he once took an NBA-sponsored exam designed to recommend alternative careers. "The three things that popped out," he said, "was ... outdoor expedition leader, minister/psychologist and house husband."

Coaching it was.


Taps was played and a moment of silence observed before the game to mark the death of former President Reagan. ... If the Lakers defeat the Detroit Pistons, rookie Luke Walton and his father, Bill, would become the second father-son tandem to win NBA titles. The first was Matt Guokas Jr. and Matt Guokas Sr.

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