In 1998, Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone scored an NBA season-high 56 points in a 101-99 win at Golden State. In the contest, Malone also contributed 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks. The 1997-98 season was one of the best in franchise history. The Jazz maintained a 62-20 record and made it to the NBA Finals for the second year in the row. Led by Malone, who averaged 27 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in the regular season, the Jazz breezed their way to the finals. In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Jazz lost only one game to the San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz then swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, and for the second year in a row Malone faced off against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. Despite Malone’s averages of 25 points and 10.5 rebounds in the finals, the Utah Jazz once again succumbed to the Chicago Bulls 4-2. Although Malone would never win an NBA championship, his other accolades were more than enough to secure his legacy. Throughout his 19 season NBA career, Malone was a 2x NBA MVP, 11x All-NBA First Team (tied with Kobe Bryant for second place), 3x NBA All-Defensive First Team, 2x Olympic gold medalist, and 14x NBA All-Star. Malone was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and his no.32 was retired by the Utah Jazz.
Today in Sports History: April 7