When Karl Malone kicked Tim Duncan in the face!

Despite suffering a tremendous beating from the veterans at the time, Tim Duncan is possibly the cleanest player to have emerged from the 1990s.

As many baskets as The Mailman was known for making throughout his incredibly lengthy NBA career, the 6 feet 9 inch, 260 lb of pure strength was also known for inflicting countless elbows, bruises, and stitches.

Even if it wasn’t quite as outrageous as the 1960s and 1970s, the 1980s and 1990s had some of the most shady playing teams ever.

The Bad Boy Pistons of the East weren’t far behind Malone’s Jazz in the West. Cleaning staff and team doctors usually had too much work to do, especially when the two teams were on the court with corpses flying and laying all over the place.

No superstar of the era was spared from getting roughed up every other game, regardless of how outstanding they were on the court. And if the victims were inexperienced beginners, there was absolutely no way out. Tim Duncan had to experience it firsthand.

Once, Karl Malone attempted to kick the living spirit of rookie Tim Duncan

When Duncan entered the league in 1997, he faced legendary competition right away. Some of the best power forwards in the game at the time included Horace Grant, Charles Barkley, and Karl Malone, none of whom played as cleanly as most players of the period did.

All of them believed Duncan and Kevin Garnett could become just as good as them or perhaps better than them despite having passed their peak or being on the verge of it. Of course, none of them wanted to lose any fight with the kids.

The 6′ 11″ Duncan faced off against Malone in one of these matches during the 1998 Playoffs. Malone was hungry for a championship and underestimated the threat posed by the Spurs when they faced them in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

Jazz were also ahead 3-1 in the series, but Timmy was outperforming Karl in terms of dominance, and The Mailman wasn’t willing to entertain it. He made practically no other attempt but to kick the 22-year-old in the face, forcing him to taste some dirt.

That’s awful! If it had been today, it would have received a lengthy suspension. It’s interesting that it didn’t result in a game-long punishment like it did earlier in the season when he elbowed big man David Robinson of the Spurs in the face and sent him to the hospital.


Shreyansh is passionate about working on challenging ideas and exploring the boundaries to pursue innovation. He is an engineering student pursuing Electronics and an NBA die hard fan. He has been following NBA since his childhood and basketball has been very close to him to get away from the noise.