In one of many comments he made about Carmelo Anthony in his upcoming book titled Furious George, ex-Nuggets and Kings coach George Karl reflected on his time with the current Knicks forward and said his upbringing without a father created maturity issues.
“Kenyon (Martin) and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man,” Karl wrote, according to the NY Post.
Denver drafted Anthony third overall in the 2003 NBA draft. Karl coached him from Jan. 2005 to Feb. 2011, when the Nuggets met Anthony’s trade demand and sent him to the Knicks.
Karl called Anthony’s trade “a sweet release for the coach and the team, like popping a blister.’’
In his book, Karl details Anthony as a “true conundrum” and chided the nine-time All-Star for his lack of leadership and effort on the defensive end.
“I want as much effort on defense — maybe more — as on offense,” Karl penned. “That was never going to happen with Melo, whose amazing ability to score with the ball made him a star but didn’t make him a winner.
“He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense,” he continued. “He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to.”
Several players, including Martin, took exception to the things Karl said and fired back.
The Nerve of an AWFUL AND COWARD ASS COACH. More to come— Kenyon Martin Sr. (@KenyonMartinSr) December 22, 2016
I didn't have a father going up. We all know that. What's George Karl excuse for being a terrible person— Kenyon Martin Sr. (@KenyonMartinSr) December 22, 2016
Everyone that's played for that awful person and coach can't stand the ground he walks on— Kenyon Martin Sr. (@KenyonMartinSr) December 22, 2016
Karl also criticized J.R. Smith’s maturity and “posse,” a word that angered LeBron James when Phil Jackson used it in reference to him. Smith was not amused.
Still trying to be relevant. Sad just sad.— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) December 22, 2016
This isn’t the first time Karl was critical of Anthony’s defensive effort. Following the trade in 2011, Karl doubled down on Melo’s effort away from the offensive end of the floor.
“Defensive focus, his demand of himself, is what frustrated us more than anything,” he said, according to the Denver Post.
Anthony responded on Twitter, writing, "Damn, are u serious. Some people never [cease] to amaze me. Unbelievable."
WHEN THE GRASS IS CUT THE SNAKES WILL SHOW.— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) February 25, 2011
Karl has a long history of tattered relationships with former players, including DeMarcus Cousins. They also went on to call him a snake.
In the five-and-a-half seasons Karl spent coaching Anthony in Denver, he amassed a 328-132 record, winning 71.3 percent of his regular season games with Melo as his star player. During that stretch, the Nuggets made it to the Western Conference Finals once (2008-09). In the two-plus seasons ensuing the Anthony trade, Karl’s Nuggets went 118-60 (.663).
On Thursday, Dec. 29, Karl appeared on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show, where he apologized for the comments he made regarding Kenyon Martin. He also praised the job single mothers do raising children on their own.
“I said it poorly, and I’m sorry that I said it poorly, and I’m sorry for the reaction because I know Kenyon. The one thing I love about Kenyon Martin: He is a good father,” he said. “And the other thing that I’d like to say pretty strongly. ... I think there are so many great mothers that have come in the basketball world, in the NBA world that have done a fantastic job being that single parent and raising and supporting their children in a great, great way. I think there are some superstar mothers out there.”
His book, Furious George, comes out on Jan. 10.