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He plays a little bit like Kareem" - When George Karl predicted JaVale McGee would have a bright future in the NBA

In all fairness, McGee seemed to have performed his duty well in his first several games with the Nuggets. In fact, coach Karl even thought he was looking at a “defensive” version of NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in JaVale
Milwaukee Bucks center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee

George Karl even thought he was looking at a "defensive" version of NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in JaVale.

There is nothing new about NBA coaches raving about their players, but it's not every day that we hear them make bold comparisons, especially when it involves some of the greatest players of all time. But, more often than not, it raises eyebrows and fuels debates. That was the case when George Karl assessed then-Denver Nuggets newcomer JaVale McGee.

George thought he saw a legend in the making

Back in the 2011/12 season, McGee joined the Nuggets in the middle of the season to bolster the defense of Karl's squad. In all fairness, McGee seemed to have performed his duty well in his first several games with the Nuggets. In fact, coach Karl even thought he was looking at a "defensive" version of NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in JaVale.

"His length is very impressive. He's long," Karl told The Denver Post of McGee. "I think he plays a little bit like Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), but he's a defensive Kareem more than an offensive Kareem. He's not going to be a power player, but he's going to be an athletic-length-long player."

Undoubtedly, Karl has always been one of the best coaches in the league. However, his prediction of McGee, capped off by likening him to Kareem, was terribly wrong.

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Shaqtin' a fool star

Contrary to Karl's assessment, McGee never propelled to a Kareem-like player in the NBA. Instead, he became a laughingstock on basketball's biggest stage when Shaquille O'Neal made him his favorite subject on his famous NBA TV segment "Shaqtin' a Fool."

The show basically highlighted all the bad turnovers and awful mistakes McGee made all season long. While many have been entertained, JaVale, who was on the receiving end of all the criticizing, was dejected by it.

McGee said he couldn't do anything because his previous teams, including Denver, weren't winning games. Instead, he finally had the voice to confront the negative impact of the show when he joined the Golden State Warriors and became a two-time NBA champion.

According to McGee, Shaqtin' a Fool "was just too much" because some coaches believed he was a terrible player. He then decided that enough was enough, and he finally began addressing it publicly.

"It was slowly chipping away my reputation where every other coach in the league said I don't want him because we see what he is doing on Shaqtin A Fool. If you can make any lowlight of Jordan right now, and if you never seen the highlights, you would think he is the worst player in the world. It was definitely a downward spiral ever since that show aired," McGee pointed out.

The show is still airing, and McGee is still an active NBA player. Though we may be in for more of his Shaqtin' a Fool moments, one thing we can't deny is that McGee may not be playing like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but he's still a three-time NBA champion and became a solid contributor from the bench. 

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