For 18 years, from 1985-2003, Malone and point guard John Stockton were the twin stars of the NBA's Utah Jazz. The Jazz drafted Malone out of Louisiana Tech in 1985, and by 1990 the power forward was one of basketball's biggest stars. (At 6'9" and about 250 pounds, he also was known for having one of the NBA's most magnificent physiques.) In both 1997 and 1998 the Jazz made the NBA finals, losing to Michael Jordan
and the Chicago Bulls both years. Malone was named the NBA's most valuable player for the 1996-97 and the 1998-99 seasons. Stockton retired after the 2002-03 season, and that summer Malone signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, joining LA's existing stars Kobe Bryant
and Shaquille O'Neal
. That team lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. Injuries hobbled Malone during the 2004-05 season, and he retired midseason, on 13 February 2005.