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Karl Malone: Kobe Bryant has ‘standing offer’ to ‘knuckle up’ with him


Even though Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant were teammates on a Los Angeles Lakers team that reached the 2004 NBA Finals, their relationship quickly soured, almost immediately, in fact.

According to reports at the time, everything went south between the two during the 2004-05 NBA season. A seismic rift tore through their friendship after Bryant accused Malone — then not with the team but attending a Lakers game in November — of making “inappropriate comments” to his wife Vanessa (Malone would later announced his retirement in February of the following year).

Because of the bad blood that developed between he and the Lakers superstar, Malone insists to this day that if Bryant wants to engage in some fisticuffs, he has a willing combatant.

“We had a little issue,” Malone told host Marc Lamont Hill in an interview with “HuffPost Live” (video available here). “I don’t hold grudges … I love Westerns. I’m old-school Western. Back in the day, when you had a beef, you didn’t go get guns and knives … we just go back in the back with no cameras and knuckle up. Get it over with.”

When asked if Malone has ever explicitly offered up a challenge to Bryant, the retired legend simply stated the invite to throw down still stands.

“It’s a standing offer,” Malone said. “Look, I don’t want no trouble. I don’t have a problem. People say whatever they want to say and that’s great. I’m 6-9, 272 [pounds] to be exact. I’m not hard to find. I don’t want no trouble. But if something got to go down, I’m not playing fair.”

Concerning the original incident that spawned the apparent years-long feud, Malone allegedly didn’t take kindly to what Bryant’s wife had to say about his choice of attire during their interaction at the 2004 game in question. According to Malone’s agent at theime, Vanessa, commenting upon the cowboy hat and boots he was wearing, said, “Hey, cowboy, what are you hunting?”

“She said it twice,” Malone’s agent said, via “And Karl answered, ‘I’m hunting for little Mexican girls.’ ”

Bryant said at the time that he was “hurt” by Malone’s comments and the Mailman refused to engage in a war of words, saying at the time it was all “a Hollywood soap opera, and I’m not going to be a star in another Bryant soap opera.”

But as far as any possible brouhaha ensuing between the two NBA icons, perhaps Malone simply wants to take out Bryant before the Lakers veteran makes a run at passing him to take over No. 2 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Although given how Bryant’s body is breaking down as he’s stuck onĀ 32482 points, maybe eclipsing Malone’s 36,928 career points is a pipe dream anyway.