The NBA’s decision to bring back Karl Malone as a judge for its Slam Dunk Contest has been widely criticized, but Malone wouldn’t discuss the roots of that controversy during the league’s All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that the Utah Jazz legend appeared at the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, offering no insight into his controversial past. “I’m not discussing any of that. I don’t care,” Malone, 59, said. “That’s my life, it’s my personal life, and I’ll deal with that like I’ve had to deal with everything. So, whatever. Whatever, I’m human.”
During an interview with ESPN in 2008, Demetress Bell, Malone’s son, spoke about his absent father and revealed how his dad claimed it was too late for him to be an involved parent. “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.”
The former basketball player reportedly impregnated Gloria Bell, who at the time was 13, while he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Louisiana Tech in 1983. While the family didn’t press statutory rape charges against the ball player, they instead filed a paternity suit.
According to the Associated Press, Malone reached a confidential financial settlement with the mother following Demetress Bell’s birth.
After being found in contempt of court for failing to submit DNA blood tests, the ex-power forward struck a deal with the family outside the courtroom. His submitted DNA tests determined Malone was 99.3 % the father of Demetress Bell.
Bell would play four seasons in the NFL, drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2008.