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Karl Malone Career Stats

Karl MaloneThis is how Demetrius Bell, drafted a couple of weeks ago by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round, describes his relationship with his father:

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Karl Malone had an incredible NBA career - but he hasn't been nearly as exemplary in another role.

"I treat it as if my mother went to the sperm bank. I don't hate him for [not being in my life]. It made me a better person."

But it's pretty hard to reduce your father to a DNA dispenser when everyone else in the world knows him as the NBA's second-leading scorer of all time, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and arguably the greatest power forward ever.

Yes, Bell's father is Karl Malone. And if you're wondering why you've never heard of Bell or seen these two engaged in any father-son moments, it's because Malone apparently wants nothing to do with him.

Malone has never publicly spoken about Bell. Attempts were made to contact Malone through the NBA office, but he never responded.

It's hard to tell which is more astonishing - that Malone actually feels this way, or that Bell was able to overcome the heartbreaking reality of being rejected by a parent.

What matters most is that Bell triumphed in spite of how his father behaved. He grew up in Summerfield, La. - Malone's hometown - and earned a basketball scholarship to Northwestern State, nearly 2½ hours away from Summerfield. Everyone there describes Bell as a gem. When I called the school to find out more about Bell, the sports information director talked nonstop about how polite, well-liked and determined Bell is. Malone aside, Bell's story is unbelievable. He thought he was going to be a big-time basketball star like you know who, and didn't start playing football until three years ago. The football staff looked at Bell's size and relative speed, and hatched the idea that Bell would make an outstanding defensive end. He played that position in 2005, appearing in just one game. The next season he was pressed into duty as an offensive tackle three weeks before the season started. After 22 straight starts, Bell became an All-American, a first-team All-Southland Conference selection, and now a proud NFL player.Demetrius Bell Plus, Bell is expected to graduate this spring.

"I was crying, " Bell said when asked what it was like to be drafted. "I was just so happy."

Bell isn't the only Malone child to fall victim to this rather heinous pick-and-roll. Bell is one of three children Malone has fathered outside of wedlock, although he is the only one who Malone has apparently refused to have a relationship with. Malone's other two children outside his marriage are fraternal twins Daryl and Cheryl Ford. Both of them played basketball at Louisiana Tech, like their father, and Cheryl is a forward for the WNBA's Detroit Shock.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Bell overcame the absence of his father to become an NFL player.

In fact, you may have seen the Louisiana tourism commercial featuring Cheryl Ford and her famous father, who finally appeared in his twin children's lives when they were 17. Bell lost out in the father lottery. According to Bell, Malone told him it was too late for him to be his father, and he'd have to make it on his own.

Nice to meet you too, Dad.

"I grew up around good people, " Bell said. "I never turned to a father figure. I was lucky. I didn't need one. I'm happy. I don't need anything else."

If Al Sharpton is itching to picket something, he should organize a protest outside Malone's house, since the National Fatherhood Initiative says two out of three African-American children grow up without their father in the home.

Roger Clemens' alleged seedy indiscretions - including a possible sexual relationship with a 15-year-old - are nothing compared to what Malone has done. Malone reportedly impregnated Bell's mother when she was 13 and he was a sophomore at Louisiana Tech. Malone is lucky Chris Hansen wasn't around and he didn't have to answer to the authorities.

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