By Eamonn Brennan
Sometimes, college basketball yields weirdness beyond what anyone could normally conceive. Today is one of those days.
The story goes like this: Louisiana Tech was hosting Nevada Saturday at the Thomas Assembly Center, where Karl Malone Floor (Malone attended Louisiana Tech) adorns the playing surface. The floor was apparently surfaced in December. Nevada, as is frequent custom, brought its own chairs to the game and placed them in the middle of the floor in front of the Wolfpack bench for timeouts. According to varying reports, the Mailman was on hand, and the Mailman doesn't much like you scratching up his court.
Karl Malone wasn't particularly thrilled with Nevada bringing small folding chairs onto "his" court during the media timeouts of Saturday's Tech-Nevada basketball game at the Thomas Assembly Center. Bringing chairs or stools onto the court during timeouts is standard practice all around the country, but Malone voiced his displeasure, and the Nevada staff was told staff to keep the chairs off the floor (which was sanded and sealed in December). Nevada continued to use its chairs throughout the rest of the first half, and may or may not have antagonized Malone by using some extra oomph when setting the chairs on the hardwood.
So during halftime Malone grabbed Nevada's portable furniture and threw it in a dumpster outside the arena. Allegedly.
That's from Monroe (La.) News Star reporter Ethan Conley, who spoke with La. Tech deputy athletic director Bruce Van De Velde about the supposed altercation. Van De Velde says the story is "a little bit embellished." He also added that Karl "takes a lot of pride in the floor," but that he "didn't remove" any chairs. Other reports differ: Nevada athletic director Cary Groth said she couldn't confirm or deny whether the chairs were in fact delivered to the dumpster by Malone, only that when Nevada came back from halftime they were not there.
Whether Malone moved them or not, the mere mental picture of an angry, plaid-clad Karl Malone hauling plush sideline chairs out to the dumpster, muttering under his breath the whole way, is good enough for me. I'll never un-know this image, whether it actually ever existed or not. I am totally cool with that.