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Byline: MICHAEL MINK
To reach the top, Karl Malone has relied on only one person. Himself.
His father died when he was an infant, leaving Malone's mother to raise her eight children alone in the small, rural Louisiana town of Summerfield. Malone's 6-foot, 9-inch grandfather became his male role model, passing on more to him than just height.
"My grandpa and I used to go walking a lot when I was a little boy," Malone, 40, said in an interview earlier this week. "I remember one day it seemed like we had walked (a few) miles from the house. We got up on this hill and looked back at the house, and it seemed so far away to me. I was just a little fellow, and my Grandpa used to carry me, so I put out my arms for him to pick me up, and he looked at me right there and said, "If I carry you today, somebody will be carrying you for the rest of your life.' "
Malone resolved to never accept or expect a …