FILE – In this file photo from January 18, 2017, former NBA head coach George Karl talks about his new book" Furious George, While an interview before a book signing in a bookstore in East Denver. Karl has not felt so healthy in almost two decades. He plays a lot of golf, rides a bicycle, trains and does yoga. The long-time NBA trainer has fought cancer three times and lives a quasi-retired lifestyle. However, the recently 69-year-old is far from retired. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski, File)
DENVER – Truth: George Karl has not felt so healthy for 15, maybe even 20 years. He plays a lot of golf, rides a bike and finds time for yoga.
Basketball: The long-time NBA coach, who has fought cancer three times, keeps the door open to get back into business, perhaps as head coach or possibly as an assistant.
Truth + Basketball: The title of the new podcast by 69-year-old Karl, whom he finds "soulful".
He may live a retired lifestyle, but don't make a mistake – he is not retired.
"I love the game more than ever," said Karl, who has not trained in the league since his release from Sacramento after the 2016 season. "If the right situation arises, I could train again."
Karl quenched his thirst for tires with his son Coby, who is the head coach of the South Bay Lakers, a G League club. George Karl personally witnessed some of his son's games before the season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. When he wasn't there, he was always available for advice.
"I don't get a lot of calls if he wins. But if he loses, I get a lot of calls," said Karl, who has 1,175 victories in his career at Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, Milwaukee, Denver and the regular season Sacramento has achieved.
Karl's name appeared recently in an episode of "The Last Dance", a 10-part documentary series by ESPN and Netflix about Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. Karl was called by Jordan because he hadn't greeted basketball great in the same restaurant during the 1995-96 NBA final.
Truth: He was in the restaurant and didn't go over there. He can't remember ever going past Jordan.
Basketball: He warned all of his players not to fraternize with Jordan and the Bulls during the series. He didn't want to give Jordan extra fuel. It turned out that Karl offered additional motivation by not greeting his colleague from the University of North Carolina Tar Heel. Jordan averaged 27.3 points during a series that Chicago won in six games.
"I stood by the team for my code," explained Karl, who published a book in 2017 entitled "Furious George: My Forty-Year-Old NBA Divas, Unsuspecting GMs and Poor Shot Selection". "I don't think I'm a rude person. "
These days Karl eats well, gets a lot of exercise and lives a "lifestyle with less stress". It all adds up: he hasn't felt that healthy for a while.
Karl was treated for prostate cancer in 2005 and then announced in February 2010 that he had neck cancer, which forced him to take the nuggets for treatment and miss the postseason (a loss in the first round against Utah ). Years later he found that he was diagnosed with melanoma of the eye. He received the Melanoma Research Foundation's Courage Award in 2019 for recognizing "the bravery he has shown in treating eye melanoma".
"I don't wake up and worry about cancer," said Karl. "But if my back hurts, I think it's cancer. If my shoulder hurts, I think it's bone cancer. The first thing I think is cancer.
“Once you have cancer, you are at higher risk of developing another cancer. I know that. But my health is probably as good as in about 15 or 20 years. "
He was saddened by the loss of Jerry Sloan, who died on Friday at the age of 78. Karl has fond memories of matchups against Sloan, who spent 23 seasons coaching Utah Jazz.
"Jerry was a very loyal and very demanding old school trainer," said Karl.
Truth: Karl started his podcast with co-producers Brett Goldberg, Bradley Burns and Mikey Goldenberg in January to get fans to think differently about tires.
Basketball: The podcast contains a lot of insights into the tires. He discussed a little of everything:
– In an episode entitled "The Strange Case of Carmelo," he addresses his relationship with Carmelo Anthony while both were in Denver: "He was so talented. I look at myself when I failed a bit with Melo. Because I couldn't make him the size of his talent. I feel like I haven't managed to get him to the best of the best. I also feel like I helped him get damn good. "
– In a special edition entitled "Kobe", Karl spoke about Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January: "No question, Kobe Bryant has made basketball a better place, a better game."
– In a title entitled "The Fall: 1994 Sonics vs. Nuggets Playoffs ”Karl discussed in Game 5 about the defeat of Seattle against the outsider Nuggets:“ Painful. Misery. … I still remember the disappointment of the city of Seattle when (Dikembe) Mutombo lay on the back with the ball in the air. I want to kick it. "
The examination of certain topics is one reason why Karl enjoys the podcast: "We can go a little bit deeper and be a little more emotional," thought Karl.
He does not rule out a return to the coaching ranks. Maybe later, after his teenage daughter went to college.
"At the moment I don't mind looking after my son and friends," said Karl, "and just hang out in the gym and have the opportunity to talk about basketball."
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