Karl Malone is claiming that one of his former Jazz teammates was never the same after dealing with Shaquille O’Neal.
During Inside Stuff’s ’90s Reunion that was posted before the finale of ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” Charles Barkley asked the room if there were any hoopers in their era who they were surprised didn’t reach stardom.
Malone chimed in and said former Jazz big man Greg Ostertag.
“We had a young man on his way, and we felt we had what we needed,” Karl Malone said about Ostertag, whom the Jazz drafted with the 28th pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. “Until we met Shaq and them in the preseason game in the old Forum and he slapped the man’s contacts out and he f***ed up Greg Ostertag for the rest of his life.”
Malone then stated the feud came about when the Jazz center “started yacking” during their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1998 Western Conference Finals.
Malone recalled O’Neal warning him that “‘if I see that motherf—er I’m going to slap the s— out of him.’”
“And he is not lying.” the NBA icon furthered. “We’re waiting on (Ostertag) to come out…and Shaq walked right to him. ‘Man, I told you to quit talking that s—.’ Before we could even respond, Ostertag’s on the ground looking for his contact. It ruined him for the rest of our career.”
Ostertag averaged 4.6 points and 5.5 rebounds during his 11 NBA seasons (10 with Utah).