“Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him,” George Karl wrote in his book “Furious George” from 2017. “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.”
But the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history didn’t stop there. Whether it was a promotional interview for the book, or simply talking basketball (1-on-1 with Basketball Network was no exception), Karl used every opportunity to re-emphasize how frustrating it was to coach Carmelo — he even hit below the belt, suggesting Melo’s immaturity came from growing up without a father.
Even today, years after the dust seemingly settled, whenever the opportunity presents itself, the former NBA coach jumps at it, taking a jab at his former superstar. Here’s the latest example, after Anthony joined the LA Lakers.
And it kept our coaching staff up at night a decade ago when we were stressing the importance of team play and defense! 😆 https://t.co/riomQd667N— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) August 10, 2021
The Lakers’ demands for Carmelo are everything he wasn’t able to bring to the table while with the Nuggets, at least according to Karl. At 37, he’s there to offer locker room leadership and be the team’s additional scoring option, assuming he, along with their other offseason pickups, can fit well with the team.
Basketball stuff aside, Melo seems in the right place to make such an adjustment. It’ll take some time for the team to mesh together, but everyone, including Anthony, seems to be on the same page, ready to embark on a quest for an NBA championship. And no matter how you feel about the Lakers, you can’t help but root for Melo to get it. So why is that not the case with Karl?
It’s been obvious for a long time that the animosity between the two is on a personal level. And it sure isn’t as one-sided, despite most of the outbursts coming from George. But why?
For the same reason, you sometimes don’t want your ex to be happy. Instead of taking the high road, you want them to feel regret. And ever since Carmelo requested to be traded from Denver, that’s what Karl wants him to feel, especially since George himself feels the same way.
In his mind, the Nuggets were Carmelo’s adjustment away from winning an NBA championship. But in six years the two worked together he was never willing to do it. That’s something Karl will hold against Melo for as long as he’s playing, perhaps even longer. Let’s just hope the animosity between the two has an expiration date.