Longtime NBA coach George Karl has a new book out in January, entitled “Furious George”. In it, the New York Post reported on Thursday, Karl spends a great deal of time taking personal shots at several NBA players he coached, most notably former Denver Nugget and current New York Knick Carmelo Anthony.
Karl coached Anthony in Denver from 2005 to 2011, when the Nuggets finally satisfied Anthony’s request to be traded to the Knicks.
Their relationship over that stretch sounds fractured at best, and some of the barbs Karl lays on Anthony are eyebrow-raising.
Here’s Karl calling Anthony a fame-addicted “user”:
“Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him. 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.”
Karl takes particular issue with Anthony’s defence:
“He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defence. He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. My ideal — probably every coach’s ideal — is when your best player is also your leader. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to. Coaching him meant working around his defence and compensating for his attitude.”
“I want as much effort on defence — maybe more — as on offence. That was never going to happen with Melo, whose amazing ability to score with the ball made him a star but didn’t make him a winner. Which I pointed out to him. Which he didn’t like.”
One might respond to Karl here by noting that it’s the explicit job of the coach to instill a better defensive mindset in his best offensive players.
Most notably, however, is Karl’s problematic (at best) claim that Anthony and then-teammate Kenyon Martin struggled after growing up without their fathers.
“Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man.”
According to the Post, Karl also takes aim at former Nuggets guard JR Smith. Smith, according to Karl, carried “a huge sense of entitlement, a distracting posse, his eye always on the next contract and some really unbelievable shot selection.” Karl also said that J.R.’s father, Earl, frequently encouraged him to shoot, even to his own detriment
During Anthony’s time with the Knicks, Karl has softened his stance on him. He’s complimented him on becoming more of a leader, and broadening his game.
Still, based on these explosive quotes, it’s clear Karl continues to harbour some very ill-will toward key members of a team that, in 2009, came two games away from reaching the NBA Finals.
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