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NBA HOF’er Karl Malone visits Barksdale

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, stands next to a B-52H Stratofortress during a visit at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 5, 2020. Malone flew a training sortie with the 96th Bomb Squadron during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, stands next to a B-52H Stratofortress during a visit at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 5, 2020. Malone flew a training sortie with the 96th Bomb Squadron during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (right), NBA Hall of Famer, uses a parachute simulator while receiving training from Master Sgt. Martin Ruemenapp Jr. (left), 2nd Operation Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape flight chief at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received training from the 96th Bomb Squadron and the 2nd Operations Support Squadron in the case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (right), NBA Hall of Famer, uses a parachute simulator while receiving training from Master Sgt. Martin Ruemenapp Jr. (left), 2nd Operation Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape flight chief at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received training from the 96th Bomb Squadron and the 2nd Operations Support Squadron in the case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (right), NBA Hall of Famer, sits in a B-52H Stratofortress simulator while receiving egress training from Capt. Cameron Gill (left), 96th Bomb Squadron weapon systems officer, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received training from the 96th Bomb Squadron and the 2nd Operations Support Squadron in the case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (right), NBA Hall of Famer, sits in a B-52H Stratofortress simulator while receiving egress training from Capt. Cameron Gill (left), 96th Bomb Squadron weapon systems officer, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received training from the 96th Bomb Squadron and the 2nd Operations Support Squadron in the case of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (center), NBA Hall of Famer, recieves a pre-flight brief prior to his flight with the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 5, 2020. Malone spent time with Airmen, toured facilities and even took a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone (center), NBA Hall of Famer, recieves a pre-flight brief prior to his flight with the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 5, 2020. Malone spent time with Airmen, toured facilities and even took a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, recieves a pre-flight brief prior to his flight with the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time with Airmen, toured facilities and even took a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, recieves a pre-flight brief prior to his flight with the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time with Airmen, toured facilities and even took a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, sits in a decommissioned aircraft seat in the 96th Bomb Squadron during a visit at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time visiting with Airmen, touring various squadrons and even taking a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, sits in a decommissioned aircraft seat in the 96th Bomb Squadron during a visit at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time visiting with Airmen, touring various squadrons and even taking a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl “the Mailman” Malone and members from “The Mighty Eighth” Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center stand outside the headquarters building following a Leadership Lab, Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received a firsthand look at global bomber and NC3 operations during a visit to the numbered air force, which is located at Barksdale AFB, La. Malone is also a local area resident.

Karl “the Mailman” Malone and members from “The Mighty Eighth” Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center stand outside the headquarters building following a Leadership Lab, Feb. 4, 2020. Malone received a firsthand look at global bomber and NC3 operations during a visit to the numbered air force, which is located at Barksdale AFB, La. Malone is also a local area resident.

Karl Malone, former NBA player and Olympic gold medalist, discusses leadership traits and professionalism with Airmen during an 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center Leadership Lab at Barksdale AFB, La., Feb. 4, 2020. J-GSOC and “Mighty Eighth” Airmen come from a variety of career fields, all which support strategic bomber and nuclear command, control and communications operations worldwide. Malone also signed memorabilia and met with service members individually during a meet-and-greet.

Karl Malone, former NBA player and Olympic gold medalist, discusses leadership traits and professionalism with Airmen during an 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center Leadership Lab at Barksdale AFB, La., Feb. 4, 2020. J-GSOC and “Mighty Eighth” Airmen come from a variety of career fields, all which support strategic bomber and nuclear command, control and communications operations worldwide. Malone also signed memorabilia and met with service members individually during a meet-and-greet.

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, talks with Airmen at the Senior Airman Bell Fitness Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time talking to Airmen talking about leadership and even giving a few tips to the base intramural basketball team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, talks with Airmen at the Senior Airman Bell Fitness Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time talking to Airmen talking about leadership and even giving a few tips to the base intramural basketball team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, visits with Airmen at the Senior Airman Bell Fitness Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time talking to Airmen talking about leadership and even giving a few tips to the base intramural basketball team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)
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Karl Malone, NBA Hall of Famer, visits with Airmen at the Senior Airman Bell Fitness Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 4, 2020. Malone spent time talking to Airmen talking about leadership and even giving a few tips to the base intramural basketball team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

NBA Hall of Famer and Louisiana native, Karl Malone, toured Barksdale during a visit to the base Feb. 5-6, 2020.

A two time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA all-star and second ranked all time point scorer, Malone spent time with Airmen, toured facilities and even took a ride in a B-52H Stratofortress.

“To be able to spend time with our men and women in uniform and see how they perform when it’s go time, it’s unreal,” Malone said. “Just to get a chance to say thank you, it’s amazing.”

Growing up in Summerfield, Louisiana, Malone has developed extensive ties with Barksdale throughout the years .

“I used to come out to the base, sit outside the gate, pull over to the side of the road and watch the planes go overhead,” Malone said. “This last year, I even brought my four grandkids to the airshow on base.”

During his visit, Malone spent a lot of his time interacting with Airmen, talking about leadership and even giving a few tips to the base’s intramural basketball team.

“He’s one of the greatest players of all time,'' said Tech. Sgt. Stacey Bell, 2nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis flight chief. “For him to come out and give us pointers on how to better our game, it’s definitely inspiring.”

Malone also had the opportunity to participate in a B-52 training flight with the 96th Bomb Squadron.

To prepare for the flight, Airmen from the 2nd Operational Support Squadron briefed and qualified Malone to fly, training him on egress and parachute techniques. Malone was also fitted with flight equipment by the 2nd OSS aircrew flight equipment shop.

“I’ve seen them from the ground and have seen them flying over,” Malone said. “But to be inside a B-52 and see it’s capabilities, it’s surreal.”

Throughout the entirety of the visit, Malone continuously expressed his gratitude and thanks to every Airman he encountered.

“People are always coming up to me and saying thank you, but I didn’t do anything,” Malone said. “So to be here and just say thank you, it’s fantastic.”

The readiness and lethality that the 2nd Bomb Wing showcases every day, resonated with the NBA superstar and brought admiration for the Airmen of Barksdale.

“I haven’t wiped the smile off of my face,” Malone said.” After spending these last two days with these Airmen, and I know it’s cliché, but I’m proud to be an American.”

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