HEBER CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Mailman is set to deliver food to hungry families throughout the state of Utah.
Speaking to the media from the Heber City Airport on Monday, former Utah Jazz great Karl Malone announced a lifetime partnership with the Utah Food Bank to gather food donations at his auto dealerships.
Malone, who hails from Louisiana, stated he plans on staying in Utah for an indefinite amount of time to get the project on its feet, and hopes to be able to pick up an entire truckload of food by Friday. He mentioned that his project is intended to kickstart efforts in other states where his company does business, including his home state in the South.
The excited 58-year-old, who arrived at the airstrip with a salt-and-pepper goatee and curved brim hat, began by reintroducing himself and his wife, Kay, saying “We are happy to be back in Utah, we’re excited to have our home back here now.”
The two-time former NBA MVP also alluded to his memories of struggling with hunger in his youth, recalling from his school days, “If I was hungry, I couldn’t care less what the teacher was saying.”
Staying that he arrived in Utah after being drafted by the Jazz in 1985 as a “broken individual,” and lamented when he left in 2003 to chase a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers he left a piece of himself in the state.
After his retirement following a season with the Lakers, Malone has mostly resided in his home state of Louisiana, but has since been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and has been immortalized in Utah with a statute in front of Vivint Area, alongside one of John Stockton, and his No. 32 hung in the rafters.
At one point during Monday’s press conference, Malone unbuttoned his shirt to show off his muscles, remarking he hadn’t been “sitting on his a**” in retirement, but added that this last year had been the most difficult of his family’s time together.
In response to conditions brought on by the pandemic, he and his family began hosting food drives in Louisiana, which may have played a part in the partnership Malone reached with the Utah Food Bank.
The announcement in Heber City was punctuated with a bit of personal branding.
“This is Karl Malone, and I approve of this message.”