Former NBA player Karl Malone acknowledges the crowd Feb 19, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Former NBA player Karl Malone acknowledges the crowd during halftime in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t take more than a quick Google search to find out why Karl Malone is a controversial figure.

Malone was most recently in the news because the NBA and Utah Jazz went out of their way to honor him during the league’s All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City earlier this year. And that brought into question his past.

When Malone was a 20-year-old college student, he impregnated a 13-year-old girl who then gave birth to a son. While her family did not press charges against him, Malone also didn’t initially pay child support despite being an NBA player. Her family eventually sued for support and they settled with him out of court. As part of the settlement, Malone was not required to publicly acknowledge that he was the child’s father, though that fact was never in doubt. This was also not the only settlement he’s made with a woman over child support for children he fathered.

And Malone responded to critics at the time. And now he’s being criticized again.

Malone recently auctioned off 24 pieces of memorabilia from the 1992 Summer Olympics USA Basketball “Dream Team.” According to ESPN, he auctioned off game-used jerseys and sneakers from all 12 members and received nearly $5 million. Why Malone, who received well over $100 million over a storied career, needs that money is anyone’s guess.

Malone sold pieces of memorabilia that once belonged to Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson and Clyde Drexler, among others. While many of the pieces were autographed with the phrase, “To Karl,” none of these items were gifted to Malone. Rather, he revealed that his wife picked up the jerseys off the locker room floor after it was open to family.

The ESPN article states that Malone had previously displayed his collection of “Dream Team” memorabilia for years at one of his car dealerships in Utah.

Those in the NBA world reacted to the insane news of Malone’s memorabilia dealings on social media:

[ESPN, Spotrac]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.