It wasn't supposed to end this way.
Malone, a 14-time All-Star and two-time NBA MVP during a Hall of Fame career with the Utah Jazz, was missing just one thing to make his career complete: an NBA title. So at age 40 he signed a free-agent contract with the Lakers, joining Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Gary Payton on a team many penciled in for an NBA title.
But a sprained knee limited him to only 42 games during the season, and he aggravated the injury during the playoffs, having to sit out a crucial Game 5 in the Lakers' NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Malone retired after the season, never having won an NBA title. He was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2010.