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On the eve of training camp to prepare for another run to the NBA Finals, Karl Malone blasts "fat-ass" teammates, primarily center Greg Ostertag, who signed a $39 million contract extension yet showed up out of shape. "It's literally a damn shame," Malone said. "That is a disgrace as a professional athlete."

Oct. 31, 1997 » Shaquille O'Neal knocks Ostertag around during the shootaround before the Jazz opened the season on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers, knocking him to the floor in retaliation for comments Ostertag made after defeating Shaq and the Lakers in the playoffs.

Feb. 18, 1998 » Two days after trading for center Rony Seikaly in a deal viewed as a major step toward returning to the NBA Finals, the trade bizarrely falls through when Seikaly refuses to join the Jazz. Traded players Chris Morris and Greg Foster are forced to return after joining -- and even practicing with -- the Orlando Magic.

June 7, 1998 » The Jazz suffer one of the worst losses in NBA Finals history, losing 96-54 to the Chicago Bulls on the road to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. "It's an embarrassment to all of us," coach Jerry Sloan said. "They ate us alive." The Jazz never recover from the blowout.

June 14, 1998 » In the most painful sequence in Jazz history, the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan sneaks up behind Karl Malone, steals the ball and dashes up the floor to hit the winning basket in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Bulls' 87-86 victory effectively shuts the window on the Jazz's championship hopes for the foreseeable future.

June 15, 1998 » On his way out of town after losing in the NBA Finals, Karl Malone blasts radio broadcasters David Locke and Tom Nissalke for criticizing his performance against the Bulls, and threatens that if they're not fired, he will leave the Jazz. "It's me or them," he declares.