George Karl has never been one to hold back or censor himself, and he keeps true to form in his excellent memoir Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection (which you can buy here). Here is partial list of the people he goes at in the book, with varying degrees of venom.
George Karl makes it quite clear that he views Phil Jackson as an inferior coach who lucked into great players. He may not be wrong about that. Either way, we’re pretty sure George Karl enjoys the Phil Jackson-Carmelo beef more than anyone on earth.
Speaking of…when the book first came out, you probably read about Karl’s misguided comments about how Carmelo’s lack of a father growing up affected his immaturity (if that’s the case then how does he explain LeBron?). What you may not have read about is the consistent – and convincing – argument that he makes against Carmelo as a superstar throughout the book. His list of complaints is long, but they boil down to two things: he refused to put in the effort on defense and he prioritized scoring and being a superstar over winning. It’s doubtful anyone who’s coached ‘Melo in the pros would disagree.
Chris Washburn washed out of the league in about five minutes due to drugs, so George Karl is far from alone is crushing him, but it’s safe to say he didn’t enjoy their time together in Golden State during the ’80s.
George Karl admittedly hates big men who aren’t intense enough, and Benoit Benjamin in Seattle was a prime example. A quote from the book: “In another line of work – casino greeter, maybe, or Buddha impersonator – Benoit Benjamin’s look may have been an asset.”
“Attacked” may not be the right word, but Karl leaves no doubt that he feels Nelson threw him under the bus in Golden State when he was the GM and pushed Karl out to take over the team himself.
Joe Barry Carroll
George Karl is proud to be one of the most intense coaches alive, and Joe Barry Carroll was nicknamed “Joe Barely Cares,” so you can imagine how they got along. He wasn’t a terrible player, but his attitude and the fact that he was traded for Robert Parish and Kevin McHale (actually, the pick that ended up being McHale) didn’t do him any favors.
Karl coached Gill in Seattle and took an immediate dislike to him. Thankfully for us readers, he didn’t mince words. Let’s hear it straight from Karl:
“Kendall Gill’s joyless approach to basketball drove me crazy. His darkness affected everyone, and he didn’t seem to like anyone—especially me. We argued about minutes, we argued about attitude. I taunted him a little, called him Pretty Boy, just trying to get anything out of him other than that scowl. I thought he was a bad apple.”
Excerpt from Page 90 of “Furious George.”
You know those quotes authors use at the beginning of chapters? Here is how Karl opened the chapter on his time with the Nuggets:
You can officially count me in on believing George Karl was out of line in connecting the traits in his players he didn’t like to their absentee fathers. Safe to say Kenyon Martin agrees. However, I don’t think any coach would have enjoyed coaching JR Smith, Carmelo, and Kenyon Martin all at the same time. Out of the three, Karl seemed to enjoy coaching Martin the most, going out of his way to praise his competitiveness. Of course, he also said this about him:
“I knew right away that our power forward was one of the most insecure, immature players I ever coached.”
Stan Kroenke’s son was insecure and anxious about proving his independence from Pops, so he fired Karl and replaced him with an incompetent who just happened to be named…Brian Shaw. At least according to George Karl…
First this HILARIOUS and underreported anecdote about a time Karl’s son Coby and his friend were hanging out at the Bucks practice facility:
“One day, Ray Allen walked by and made a teasing comment about Coby’s friend’s plaid pants. ‘We oughta TP his house,’ one of them muttered when Ray walked away. I slapped a hundred-dollar bill on the desk.
‘On me,’ I said.
I heard they did a hell of a job.”
Excerpt From Page 163 of “Furious George.”
And here his explanation for the bad feelings:
Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson
It really annoys George Karl when Van Gundy and Jackson (or any announcers) begin sentences with “If you’re LeBron” or “If you’re the Warriors.” Just say what you want to say without the preface – or George Karl is coming after you in his next book!
According to George Karl, in Milwaukee Anthony Mason “didn’t add to our team – he subtracted from it” and “destroyed our delicate balance of talent and egos.”
Hey George, if Anthony Mason can singlehandedly tear your team apart, maybe take a look in the mirror?
Team USA was embarrassed at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis. According to Karl (and many others, to be fair), Pierce was a big part of the problem. Besides his lack of intensity, missed free throws, and substandard effort on defense, what REALLY ticked him off was the fact that Pierce was watching a Serena Williams tennis match in the locker room before a medal round game. #MortalSin
Sterling is a piece of shit and only on here because Karl called him a “dingbat” in the book and I love that word.
Former Sonics GM Wally Walker
There is also a nice dig at an ACC rival of his beloved UNC here:
“Wally had the superior attitude the Virginia Cavaliers are known for and didn’t think I could keep a secret.”
Even though he is a Democrat, just over halfway through the book, Karl trolls the (almost) Leader of the Free World with a sly and funny dig, poking fun at her comment about being “broke” when she left the White House.
“But I really have made lots of decisions based on what I thought was best for my development as a coach instead of only thinking about the pay. We’ve been really broke a couple times as a result and I don’t mean Hillary Clinton broke.”
Bloggers the World Over
“Most bloggers don’t have editors or training or ethics. It doesn’t pay very much, so it doesn’t attract the best people.”
Be careful, George – you may end up working for a blog before your career is over…
Tim Duncan, Kobe, and Shaq
John Stockton is ranked higher than all of them on the list of “The Five Best Players I Ever Coached Against” (the other four being MJ, Magic, Bird, and LeBron). It may be your book, but some things just aren’t true.