Karl Malone had one of the deadliest elbows in NBA history and he proved it by elbowing Isiah Thomas and giving him 40 stitches.
Karl Malone was undoubtedly a physical specimen as he stood at 6’10 and featured 250 pounds of straight muscle. He was cut from the same cloth as David Robinson and his name being brought up in this conversation is quite ironic considering the fact that the ‘Mailman’ delivered one of the most devastating elbows in NBA history to the San Antonio superstar.
It seems as though Karl Malone wasn’t all too fond of Spurs big-men as he would later go on to kick Tim Duncan in the face, giving ‘the Admiral’ all kinds of spine-shuddering flashbacks. For Malone however, using his sheer size and girth to distribute pain downlow was a thing that was quite common.
Many remember the Utah Jazz legend for his iconic pick ‘n’ rolls with John Stockton but these same fans forget that he was a savant with his footwork and athleticism. Another tid-bit about Karl Malone during his playing days was that he would fling elbows whichever way he pleased.
Karl Malone gave Isiah Thomas 40 stitiches after elbowing him in the face.
The aforementioned ‘tid-bit’ wasn’t exactly that when Karl Malone was on the floor as he made a reputation for himself as being a frequent ‘elbower’. This was on full display in 1991 when he socked Isiah Thomas right in the face during a regular season game. It wasn’t clear that he needed stitched so the ‘Bad Boy’ actually stayed on the court for a few minutes before being taken out.
28 years ago, Karl Malone elbowed Isiah Thomas, giving him an injury that required 40 stitches to close 😳 pic.twitter.com/6hMN91RYWI
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 14, 2019
This move by Karl Malone would lead to 40 stitches for Isiah Thomas’s eye. An altercation ensued immediately after this hit by Malone which resulted in merely one ejection: Pistons guard Darrell Walker, who tried a cheeky punch on Karl when he wasn’t looking.
Karl Malone, following the 102-100 win, said the hit was inadvertent and unintentional. Bill Laimbeer would disagree and get his revenge later on by clubbing him all across the face, sending him to the floor. It’s safe to say that 90s basketball was not for everyone.