Karl Malone his lone year in LA was ‘nothing but pure class’
LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers was a shock to some including former Utah Jazz great Karl Malone. Malone was interviewed during the NBA Summer League and talked about all things NBA, including James leaving for the Lakers. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
He described James’ legacy as “set.” While he expected the King to stay in Cleveland, he didn’t judge him for leaving for Los Angeles — something Malone did himself in his later years. “My year with the Lakers, it was nothing but pure class. … I tell anybody that. The way they treated me and my family there, it was just amazing.”
Malone played from 1985-2003 with the Jazz before playing his last season with the Lakers trying to chase a championship, something he never won with the Jazz. The Lakers did make it to the NBA Finals that year but lost to the Detroit Pistons, and Malone retired soon after.
Even though Malone did that move specifically to try and win a championship, that doesn’t seem like exactly why James left to play with the Lakers.
If James doesn’t win another title he is probably still one of the best two players to ever play the game. Winning is important to James, but his focus has seemed to shift a little bit and it seems like he wants to enjoy his time in the NBA as his career winds down. There doesn’t seem to be a better place to do that then in Southern California with the most popular franchise in the world.