With Christmas arriving, it appears the holidays will be anything but mellow for New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. Since Anthony’s arrival in New York a few years ago, he has been no stranger to the spotlight.
Many questioned Phil Jackson’s decision to sign Anthony to that lucrative $64 million contract. Couple that with the fact Carmelo has had to deal with a mediocre roster, a head coaching scandal, a stubborn owner, a president who can’t keep quiet, the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis, and of course injuries.
According to Denver Nuggets former head coach George Karl, the reason Anthony was ousted from Denver is because he was “addicted to the spotlight.” Name a superstar who isn’t.
In his upcoming book Furious George, Karl wrote:
“Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him. 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.”
Since the two suffered their irreconcilable split six years ago, Karl has been the more outspoken one when it comes to his feelings about Anthony’s time in Denver. Anthony, however, has chosen to to take the high road when commenting on his relationship with his former head coach in Karl.
Karl then went on to say in his book, “He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense. 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. Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Karl’s assessment of Anthony and his overall game, his comments appear to be well within NBA jurisdiction. In addition to the Nuggets, Karl has also coached five other teams during his career and he spent six seasons with Anthony which is a substantial amount of time in NBA years. It’s safe to say he knows his way around basketball and what constitutes a great player and what doesn’t.
If anyone is at liberty to speak about Anthony as a player, Karl would be a resident expert on Carmelo especially since he was with him in his formative years. But where he was extremely irresponsible in his comments was when he hurled some inflammatory remarks at Anthony and his former teammates J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin. Karl essentially used their on-court play to serve as an indictment against their personal lives.
“Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man,” Karl wrote.
Karl didn’t stop there. I guess he wasn’t paying attention to the blacklash his former contemporary Phil Jackson suffered when he used the word “posse” to describe LeBron James’ business partners. Karl went on to say that Smith, who is now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, had “a huge sense of entitlement, a distracting posse, his eye always on the next contract and some really unbelievable shot selection.”
Ouch! Karl’s criticism’ of all three superstars would have landed differently with people had they not been laced with what I deem as insensitivity to a much broader socio-economic problem that plagues many people who look like Anthony, Martin and Smith.
The obvious elephant in the room is that Karl is affirming that the behaviors that he resented from Anthony, Martin and Smith were a direct product of their background and upbringing, or lack thereof.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but a head coach can’t help how a player comes to them, but they can sure help how a player leaves them. If Martin and Anthony were lacking father figures growing up as children or weren’t taught the proper way to be a “man,” where was your imprint on their development along the way I ask “coach” Karl?
Karl, an NBA veteran violated a code of conduct. Not one established by the NBA, but rather an unwritten locker room rule between coach and players that you don’t divulge personal information.
They say no publicity is bad publicity, so in this sense I guess Karl succeeded at generating hype for his upcoming book Furious George in January.
I just wish Karl didn’t have to exploit Anthony, Martin and Smith all in the name of promoting his book, I’m sure their fathers wouldn’t appreciate it.
Oh wait, that’s right, they were never around to care in the first place.
Marcus Lamar is a Washington D.C.-based sports journalist. You can check out his podcast “Marc My Words” on Soundcloud, YouTube and coming to iTunes soon. Follow him on Twitter @iam_marcuslamar.