George Karl dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss his controversial book, “Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection.” Karl criticized several current and former NBA players in his book, including Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin, suggesting that they were immature because they grew up without a father.
In hindsight, Karl wishes he would have explained that sentiment in greater detail.
“I think what I regret is I said a comment about a paragraph long about fatherhood and about single-parent homes and the frustrations it might (have caused) my coaching career,” Karl said on Tiki and Tierney. “I said it poorly, and I didn’t elaborate on a subject that should have more detail to what I was trying to say. As a coach, our frustration comes when we don’t succeed, when we fail in not connecting with a player or not getting them to be motivated and committed as much as we want them to be. So you’re always searching for that special ability to connect with a player, and that frustration sometimes comes with younger players. We’re not doing our jobs. We’re not getting the attitude that we want, and that’s our job every day to try to get it better.
“I wish I would have said it better,” Karl continued. “I didn’t want to create that type of storm because I have a lot of respect for some great mothers. Kenyon Martin has a great mom, and there’s been so many great stories we’ve read, so many great stories about family relationships, even though they were single-family. And the players have nothing to do with it. They have no control over having a father in their lives.”
Karl, 65, coached in the NBA for part, or all, of five decades. He noticed a change in NBA culture around 2000.
“I just think the internet and talk radio and ESPN grew into this gigantic (entity),” Karl said. “There is so much opinion, so much interpretation, going on on a daily basis. Every night there’s 10 NBA games, and there could be 200 different opinions on (players and coaches). It’s probably just too much information right now. And then the money at the same time was growing to the point where players aren’t players anymore; they’re corporations. Their day is just not basketball. In the ’70s, ’80s and even probably the ’90s, the player was a basketball player 90 percent of that day. Today, I don’t know if every day is 90 percent. I think there are a lot of days where they’re a businessman. There are a lot of days where they’re worried about other things. So I think that’s what changed. Around 2000, you had maybe the awareness that if you have a 10-year career, you can make $100 million. Players started realizing that this is not only a career that is fun; it’s a career that can make the rest of my life easy. So I think you have a lot of habits kind of changing in that era.”
Getting back to Anthony, it seems he is at a crossroads with Phil Jackson in New York. Karl believes that Anthony wants to remain a Knick, but anything could happen in the coming months and years.
“I think he wants to win a championship,” Karl said. “If he’s so frustrated with the situation that he doesn’t see that window in New York, then he might say I’m willing and open to a trade. My gut says he wants to stay in New York because I think that’s where he’s most comfortable, and I think he has no problem fighting through the storm. But that’s just an opinion. I have no inside information on that. But I do think players, as they get toward the end of their career and they don’t have championships, they look to how to win a championship. If Cleveland and Golden State are the only two teams on that list, then he’s got to take some of responsibility and go to the Clippers and make them a championship team or go into Boston and make them a good playoff team. There are ways that he can still, even though he doesn’t win a championship, he can still have an impact on that team.”