Larry Miller, Karl Malone Make Up
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Karl Malone and Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller have mended their friendship following a training camp rift.
Miller, a wealthy auto dealer who has often compared the relationship with 1997′s Most Valuable Player to that of a father and son, showed up at Jazz practice Friday.
Miller asked Malone if he wanted to talk, and the two walked away together for a 45-minute, closed-door session. The two came out smiling.
``When we got done I said, `How are you feeling?′ And he said, `I feel great,‴ said Miller. ``I said, `Good, so do I.″
Added Malone: ``Everything is cool. This is behind us, and we’ll go on from here.″
The meeting, on the eve of Utah’s preseason home opener with Charlotte, came two days after Malone had complained to reporters that Miller failed to support him when he criticized teammates for showing up for camp out of shape.
Malone also was angry that Miller had spoken more than once about Malone’s eventual retirement, and how the Jazz were building for a future when the perennial All-Star was gone.
Malone’s contract expires following the 1998-99 season. He will reportedly earn $5 million this season.
``I told him I still love him ... I’m satisfied that things are right back where they should be and things between he and I are terrific,″ Miller said. ``It is a special relationship in professional sports. Perhaps it’s unique.″
Both men apologized, to a point.
``I wouldn’t change the things (I said) about my teammates, but I probably would have changed the way I handled things with Larry,″ Malone said.
Malone stressed no monetary issues came up during his talk with Miller.
``The first thing people want to say is, `Oh, Larry must have given him something.′ No promises were made,″ Malone said.