Karl Malone on NBA Guns

He has been a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, and he loves shooting rare wild animals for sport. But Malone is not on board with most NBA players packing heat. Here's an excerpt from a fascinating Arty Berko, Steve Delsohn and Lindsay Rovegno look at athletes and guns:

"I don't know what you need a gun for in the NBA," former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone said in disbelief. "What are you doing that you want a gun? Who have you pissed off that you need a gun?" Malone's eyes grew bigger and he shrugged his shoulders, apparently confused at the reasoning behind athletes' fear of being attacked.

Malone is hardly anti-gun. An avid hunter, Malone even has been a spokesman for the National Rifle Association. But he rejects the argument that athletes need guns for protection.

"I think it's just a smoke screen, just an easy reason to say you want a gun," Malone said.

While Malone supports the constitutional right to bear arms, he said he is skeptical of the average athlete's mentality when it comes to firearms.

"Everybody sticks their chest out now when they have a firearm on them," Malone said, mocking the thought process of the common athlete. "'I come up from the hard part of the streets, the mean streets, and I need my gun and all of that?' Come on, please, enough of that already. We're tired of that."

Malone said he wants athletes to realize the dangerous nature of guns.

"Now why do these guys carry guns? Is that the 'cool' thing to do? Well 'cool' gets you dead!" Malone said.

"I know there is probably somebody out there who's carrying a gun because it makes him feel like more of a man," Williams said truthfully. "You don't carry a gun just to make you feel like you are big-time. That's the wrong reason to carry."

For athletes who claim they need a gun for protection, Malone has a suggestion: stop hanging out in places of risk.

"Three a.m.? My goodness gracious, what were you doing out at 3 o'clock in the morning? Who were you with? Where were you at? Do you need a gun to protect you or do you need a babysitter to get you where you need to be all the time so that you don't get in any trouble?" Malone said.

Malone said he thinks the problems stem from the people athletes sometimes keep as company, and the places they spend their free time.

"You can enjoy yourself in nice places, but we're talking about gun stuff," he said. "We need to talk more about where we are going, what we are doing, and who we are hanging out with that lead up to these confrontations."