Karl Malone aka the "Mailman" and John Stockton in their days with the Utah Jazz from 1985-2003 formed one of the greatest duos the NBA has ever seen. Malone and Stockton were iron men. Malone himself only missed 10 games in 18 seasons with the Jazz, and Stockton missed 22 games in 18 seasons with the Jazz. In this day and age, NBA players are allowed to take nights off for rest frequently and players today don't play games three to four nights in a row. That is unheard of. But they never won a championship so a lot of people discredit them which is completely wrong.
Let's start off with the fact that Malone is second all-time in points scored in NBA history with 36,928 points which is second only to Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar who has 38,387 points.
The Mailman, a two-time league MVP is the only player in NBA to have the following statistics:
1.) Malone is the only player in NBA history with at least 35,000 points, 14,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 2,000 steals and 1,000 blocks.
2.) Malone is the only player in NBA history to score at least 20 points a game every year in his 30's from age 30 all the way through age 39.
3.) Malone is the oldest player in NBA history to win league MVP (Age 35 in 1999).
4.) Malone is the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 55 points in a regular season game (Age 34 in 1998 he scored 56 points).
5.) Malone is the oldest player in NBA history to score 50 points in a playoff game (Age 36 in 2000).
6.) Malone is the oldest player in NBA history to score 30 points in a playoff game (Age 40 in 2004).
7.) Malone is the oldest player in NBA history to record a triple double (10 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists at age 40 in 2004)
8.) Malone is the only player in the NBA over the last 32 years (1983-2015) to average 31 points and 11 rebounds in a regular season which he accomplished in the 1989-1990 season.
9.) Malone is the only player in NBA history to average at least 26 points a game in the playoffs for 18 consecutive playoff seasons with one team (Jazz).
10.) Malone has made the most free throws in NBA history.
11.) Malone has attempted the most free throws in NBA history.
Stockton has the following NBA record statistics:
1.) Most assists in NBA history with 15,806.
2.) Most steals in NBA history with 3,265.
3.) Most assists in a playoff game in NBA history with 24 in 1988.
4.) NBA record nine seasons in leading the league in assists.
5.) Highest assists per game average in a season in NBA history (14.5 in the 1989-1990 season).
6.) Only player in NBA history to have a season average of at least 12 assists eight times.
7.) Only player in NBA history to average at least 14 assists per game in a season two times.
All these great statistics with a model of consistency and yet a good amount of people think their careers aren't worth much because they never won a ring. Well guess what? It takes a team to win a championship. And those Stockton-Malone Jazz teams for 18 years were a two-man show. The fact that both players were able to carry the Jazz to two straight NBA finals in 1997 and in 1998 is impressive enough with the limited amount of depth around them.
In 1998, the Jazz had arguably the toughest road to the NBA finals in history. Check out the players the Jazz faced:
1.) 1998 quarterfinals the Jazz faced the Houston Rockets featuring Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler. Jazz won the series 3-2.
2.) 1998 semifinals the Jazz faced the San Antonio Spurs featuring Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The Jazz won the series 4-1.
3.) 1998 Western Conference finals the Jazz faced the Los Angeles Lakers featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. The Jazz won the series 4-0.
4.) 1998 NBA finals the Jazz faced the Chicago Bulls featuring Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The Bulls won the series 4-2.
It is key to note that Malone and Stockton never lost to Bryant, O'Neal, Duncan and Robinson in the playoffs. In fact, Malone and Stockton never lost to the Spurs in the playoffs.
Production is more important than rings when evaluating historic players. If rings are the ultimate deciding factor for NBA Hall of Fame players, why isn't Bill Russell with his 11 rings considered better than Jordan who has six rings?
Malone and Stockton carried a burden for the Jazz that very few players in NBA history could ever carry. That is why they should never be forgotten because the vast majority of players who do have rings, could never accomplish what Malone and Stockton did in the same situation.