Karl Malone is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was a two-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. He also ranks second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 36,928 points and sixth on the all-time rebounding list with 14,968 boards.

“It’s a passion,” Malone said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I played the game of basketball, I respected the game of basketball, but the competition is what I loved. Just to compete. One of my worst shirts of all time is ‘Basketball is Life.’ Well, basketball is not life. Life is really the reason I came here today.”

Indeed, Malone’s new passion has nothing to do with basketball – or sports in general.

“The most important thing people need to realize is it’s Black History Month,” he said. “And No. 2, it’s American Heart Month. I lost my mom and my grandmother to heart disease, so this is dear to my heart. So I formed a partnership with AstraZeneca. It’s my story. It’s my personal story. Because I love to have fun, but when I lost my mom, this became almost like a quiet crusade for me because my mom was my mom – my everything. When you lose a person like that, that’s a matriarch. And I promised myself if I ever had an opportunity, I would partner with somebody. We’re launching this website right now and it’s my story.”

Malone said that almost half of all African-Americans suffer from hypertension – or high blood pressure – and he’s decided to take a stand against it.

“I feel like I delivered so many years; now I’m giving an assist,” he said. “Because I finally found someone that has the same beliefs I have. And heart disease is serious, okay? It just don’t affect the African-American community. It affects every community.

“So anyway, when you look back and you say to yourself, ‘What could I have done different?’, I wish my mom could have had a very honest communication with (her) doctor (about) how she was feeling. So this is a crusade that I’ll never stop. I’m excited to have an opportunity to work with a company like AstraZeneca. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Malone asked listeners to visit www.karldeliversforyou.com for more information.

“If you go to that web page, what you get is our diet,” Malone said. “Which you know as well as I know, (the diet of many African-Americans) is not so good. We don’t exercise. There’s a lot of family activities. It’s all of that. If one person goes to this web page and we can help one person, it’s pretty exciting to me.”

Brian Jones commented that Malone, 51, still seems to be in pretty good shape.

“I got young kids, and I got a son at LSU right now that’s on the O-line. I’m going to have to wrestle with him one day, and it’s got to be swift and decisive,” Malone said, laughing. “Our makeup, our genetics, that’s part of it, too. So just being healthy (is important). Everybody says, ‘Well how do you know if you got high blood pressure?’ Well, you got to talk to your doctor. I’m excited, but you have to be active. I’ve always believed this. I know everything that I’ve ever done, if I get a good workout in, things come to me a lot easier. And when you train all your life, its pretty awesome.”


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