SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - John Stockton and Karl Malone have been joined in basketball history ever since they started playing for the Utah Jazz in 1985. They did not get to go into the Basketball Hall of Fame together, as Stockton was inducted a year before Malone. But they both got inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame at EnergySolutions Arena Tuesday night.
"When you hear Stockton and Malone, they just go hand in hand," said Malone. "So, to go in with him is awesome."
"We're pretty much connected at the hip, both emotionally and career-wise" Stockton said. "I'm glad to have that connection, thrilled to have it and it will never change."
Stockton and Malone played 18 seasons with the Jazz from 1985-2003. They reached the playoffs all 18 seasons and were selected to a combined 24 NBA all-star games.
"I don't think that will happen again for two guys to stay together that long in the same place and built something pretty special," said Malone, the NBA's second all-time leading scorer.
Just as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had each other to motivate themselves, Stockton and Malone competed with one another, driving each other to greatness despite being teammates.
"Back in the old days while we were playing," recalled Stockton, "we'd call each other at odds hours of the night and say, 'Hey, are you working out, old man?'
"We competed even when we weren't together," added Malone. "Our training, I think, was legendary. So, he drove me to train because big guys don't like to run. I need to train to keep up with this guy because if I get down the floor, he's going to give me the ball."
Stockton definitely got Malone the ball. So much so, that Stockton became the NBA's all-time leader in assists, as well as steals.
"I really haven't missed playing," Stockton said. "I played long enough. But what I miss are my teammates. The rides on the bus, the time in the locker room after games, like a brotherhood in there, that's what I miss."
Both Stockton and Malone are so woven into the fabric of Utah culture despite the fact that neither one lives here anymore.
"No question this is still home for me," said Stockton. "You can't beat where your family is and my family is back home in Spokane and I love it there. But, I miss it here."
"The people here accepted me as a person," Malone said. "You built on that. Those are my glory days. I never said I'd play to win. I played to compete and do it the right way."
Now 50, Stockton hasn't gained a single pound since his playing days, while Malone, now 49, still looks like he could play today.
"I know when to say when," Malone said. "If my life depended on it, I could play a little bit. I could hold my own, but there would be a lot of fouls, and I would foul you hard."