Scoring the most career points – 36,928 to be exact – in NBA history, there’s no doubt that Karl Malone has had an amazing career to say the least, but these days, the “mailman” is busy delivering off the court. With his new public awareness campaign, “Karl Delivers For You,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist and father of seven is using his celebritydom to spread the word about heart disease, the #1 cause of death in the U.S., especially for African-American women.
Earlier this year, Malone partnered with AstraZeneca to promote TOPROL-XL Direct, a program that delivers high blood pressure medicine directly to your home for only $10 a month. The partnership is near and dear to his heart considering the fact that he lost both his mother and grandmother to heart attacks.
In honor of Heart Awareness Month, BlackDoctor.org recently caught up with Karl Malone to chat about the 2014-15 NBA season and more importantly, learn about the “Karl Delivers For You” campaign:
BDO: You’re one of the greatest NBA players of all time so before we get into heart health and your new campaign, how do you see this year’s NBA season shaping up?
KM: Well, I see it shaping up really well. You’ve got teams like Golden State, you’ve got Memphis, you’ve got Atlanta, of course, San Antonio I think will always be there, Cleveland’s starting to make a run, which we knew they would, Dallas Mavericks, Houston is there even though Dwight is out right now. I see it shaping up really well, but what’s really exciting is – now, of course, I’m a Utah Jazz fan so we don’t have to go there [laughs], but the thing about it is it’s kind of neat to see other teams play. It’s a team sport and to see other teams play – I think I said Golden State – I like to see those guys play, I like to watch Portland play and the Clippers so it’s shaping up to be really good. I think especially in the Western conference, any given team can beat you. I think the West is going to be unbelievable so how about this? How about if you’re Golden State and you have the best record and you happen to pick the returning champs San Antonio to start [laughs]? It’s going to be tough. I really start watching it later on so I think it’s going to be very exciting.
BDO: Tell us about this new public awareness campaign that you have called, “Karl Delivers For You,” and why was it important for you to get involved?
KM: I have a partnership with AstraZeneca and we’re doing a launch on heart health. It’s Black History Month. It’s also Heart Awareness Month. And I don’t think a lot of people realize, but we as African Americans are the #1 race to suffer from high blood pressure, which is hypertension. My mom passed from a heart attack so this is near and dear to my heart. Whenever you’re a so-called celebrity and you do a partnership with a company, it feels great, but this right here just fits me perfect because I’m getting the message out, and I want to people to realize this is not just an African-American problem. It’s a world problem. And you can go to KarlDeliversForYou.com, where we have a support network and we can answer questions for you, but you get to hear my story and there are recipes and family activities, but more importantly, if you’ve got high blood pressure, you have the opportunity to get your medicine delivered right to your home. My mom would’ve loved it because my mom was very vocal to us, but she was the opposite with her doctor. If just one person goes to KarlDeliversForYou.com and gets information, it’s worthy to me. I’m honored, and it’s a pleasure to be able to talk to you about it because it’s a big problem.
BDO: How do you know if you’re at risk and what can people do to manage their hypertension?
KM: Well, the most important thing you can do is when you meet with your doctor, have an honest conversation. If something doesn’t feel right, ask questions. Your doctors are great, they’re professional, but they still need to have your feedback so when you go to your doctor for your checkup say, “Hey Doc, this doesn’t feel right. Hey Doc, tell me about this.” Your doctors will answer the questions that you need so what you’ve got to do is be honest with them. I’m not a doctor, but I do know that we have a great group of doctors out there now and this is what they specialize in, but if you go to KarlDeliversForYou.com, we have a support network and we give you information, but you really and truly have to talk to your doctor and be honest because high blood pressure doesn’t come with a lot of warning signs so you have to get with the experts. I’m excited to launch this program, friendship, and partnership with AstraZeneca.
BDO: Could you tell us a little more about the “Karl Delivers For You” website?
KM: We created “Karl Delivers For You,” and it’s basically a website, where you can go to get information, and we might answer some questions before you even see your doctor, but I really can’t stress enough how important it really is to have a conversation with your doctor. What the website will do for you is you have the opportunity to look at the page, there’s family activities you can do, there are recipes, and my story on why I got involved with AstraZeneca and this program, but the most important thing is if you’re at risk, you have to go to your doctor to know and also, heart disease is genetic. A lot of years earlier in my childhood, I lost my grandmother as well. So, what do you need to do? First of all, try to be active, try to work out, try to exercise, try to eat right, but sometimes, that’s not always going to help you. You’ve got to do other things as well.
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BDO: Where can people get more information? And how can they get involved?
KM: Just having a conversation, just talking about it, but “Karl Delivers For You” is the webpage that we’re launching so you can go there. And we have a support network that can answer questions for you, but I cannot stress enough the importance of talking to your doctor. You know, sometimes, when we get in front of our doctor, we clam up. Ask your doctor the toughest questions. It used to be an older person’s disease. Nowadays, we’re surprised when a young person or a well-conditioned athlete has a heart attack – we act like we’re shocked, but it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t look at race, it doesn’t look at color, it doesn’t look at what you have. It’s a serious problem. It’s a world problem, it’s a world issue, and we want to try to do our part so you need to go to KarlDeliversForYou.com and we’ll have some information for you.