Through 19 years of NBA basketball, Karl Malone earned a reputation as one of the hardest workers in the league.
The man who they say willed himself into the Hall of Fame turned 50 Wednesday, and he hasn't let up much on his grueling fitness routine.
Malone still hits the gym for hours every day, lifting weights or riding for hours on a bike. He loves hunting and fishing in the forests and hills of Louisiana and Arkansas near his home in Ruston, La.
But for his 50th, Malone made the smallest concession to his age, and a pack animal was just the thing to take a load off.
"Instead of being the athlete and walking everywhere, he got himself a mule," said Kay Malone, his wife. "I think he’s listening to his body more. He’s preserving himself more. He wants to be able to do things with the grandkids."
And yet, Malone is working as hard as ever, now working as a mentor to young Jazz players.
"I always had a suspicion, at some point, I’d be back involved with some organization," Malone said. "When I stepped back on the floor, I wanted to look like a coach. I wanted to look like I belonged. I thought it might help the young guys listen to me."
Malone played his first season with the Jazz in 1985 and played there for 18 seasons, and one with the Los Angeles Lakers.