Karl Malone Retiring After 18 Seasons

Karl Malone (search) is retiring, ending a career in which he became one of the NBA's greatest power forwards and was No. 2 on the league's all-time scoring list. Malone, who teamed with guard John Stockton (search) for 18 seasons with Utah to form one of the NBA's greatest duos, will announce his retirement Sunday at the Delta Center, the Jazz said Friday.

The 41-year-old Malone underwent knee surgery last summer and has not played since last season with the Los Angeles Lakers (search). He joined the Lakers at a greatly reduced salary before last season in an attempt to win an elusive NBA championship by playing with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Detroit beat Los Angeles in the NBA Finals in five games.

His agent, Dwight Manley, said Malone was "very serious" about returning to action with the San Antonio Spurs before he decided to retire.

"I can tell you he's given a tremendous amount of thought to this decision, but the specific details are best left to him to make on Sunday," Manley said.

Utah coach Jerry Sloan (search) said Malone was "a unique individual and I'm glad I got the opportunity to coach him."

Malone finishes his career 1,459 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA's career scoring list.

Last season, he missed 39 games after injuring his right knee, and was hurt again during the playoffs, missing the last three games of the NBA Finals.

"We've had one year with him and everyone in the organization, from the front office staff, fellow players, coaches, everyone really enjoyed having Karl around for that year," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "He was a real addition to our team last year in helping us get to the NBA playoffs."

Malone opted out of his $1.65 million contract following last season, making him a free agent. He and his family live in nearby Newport Beach, Calif. They also have a home in Salt Lake City.

Manley said in October that his client wasn't ready to play, but if he returned, it would only be with the Lakers.

That changed late last year after Malone was accused by Kobe Bryant of making a pass at Bryant's wife. Malone, through Manley, denied the accusation and apologized to Bryant and his wife for any remarks she might have considered inappropriate.

Stockton, who formed the famed pick-and-roll tandem with Malone, retired after the 2002-03 season.