In a world where celebrities are becoming authors and their “books” have become sources of inspiration, behind the scenes looks into their thoughts and most importantly, an outlet where they can vent about anything and everything, George Karl has become its next victim.
George Karl is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history with 1,175 wins to his credit, one of nine coaches to win 1,000 games or more. He has taken teams to the promised land and lost (Seattle Supersonics in 1996), which is what prefaces the thing he has ultimately been known for: falling just short.
After his final coaching stop with the Sacramento Kings last season ended in just a 33-49 record and him being fired, he decided to call it quits on a career that spanned 27 seasons and many close calls, but no rings.
Usually, coaches either go into broadcasting (which Karl has done at points in his career) or they fade off into the sunset and watch basketball from afar, but Karl, like many people in today’s society, felt the need to tell it all in the form of a book.
This book could be looked at as Karl’s ring — his opportunity to win at something in a big way and capitalized off 27 years of intense, rigorous seasons and dealings with some of the league’s biggest stars. The jewels that Karl felt like he needed to give us is what has ultimately put him into a pressure cooker among NBA and media circles, particularly with his comments regarding one of the biggest stars he ever coached, Carmelo Anthony.
Karl coached Anthony in Denver for his first six seasons in the NBA. With any high-profile rookie, there comes many different factors that you have to deal with as a coach: ego, teaching them the right way to play, family, people around them, etc. Per many pages in this new book of his entitled “Furious George: My Forty Years of Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection,” Anthony was clearly an inspiration for the title.
Karl pointed the blame of the failure of those very talented Denver Nuggets teams at Anthony who he described as “a conundrum.”
“Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him,” Karl wrote. “He was the best offensive player I ever coached. He was also a user of people, addicted to the spotlight and very unhappy when he had to share it.”
“He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense… Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.”
He even added Kenyon Martin into the mix of criticism along with Anthony, commenting on how their personal stories might have caused these traits to display themselves.
“Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man.”
Now, the basketball criticism is well within his right to say. He has been around the NBA for 40 years and been a coach for much more than half, so his knowledge of the game isn’t to be questioned by too many people. What has caused such a backlash, and the removal of some of the stories from his book, is his criticism of the personal lives and upbringing of these athletes, a place where he doesn’t have all the knowledge and a place where you should never go unwarranted.
For Karl to blame the behavior of these two athletes on the fact that they grew up without a father and were therefore never taught how to be a man is way out of his boundary to say. Even if it is his personal book and testimonial, there are just things that we don’t know enough about to truly be justified in commenting on. But again, this is the world we live in, a place where it has become a money grabber to tell your story while bashing others along the way to gain some exposure and entertainment value.
It’s a shame that a coach who has done some great things in the game of basketball felt the need to stoop to certain levels just to get some things off his chest. He felt the need to comment on Anthony’s lack of behaving like a man in those times, but failed to approach him about these issues like a man and say it directly to him. Instead, he chose to write it in a book and players like Anthony, Martin, and even J.R. Smith had to find out just like everyone else.
Sounds like Karl is the one who needs to be the man here.
What are your thoughts about George Karl’s comments in this new book? Comment below or tweet me @phenombc3