George Karl is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history. But like many of the great players, he has been known to bang heads with star players. Gary Payton says he was among them.
Payton said he was initially thrilled when the Seattle SuperSonics hired Karl because he didn’t like playing for K.C. Jones, his first coach. However, these positive feelings soon disappeared, as Payton said he ended up wanting to offload on Karl every day.
Both Payton and Martin said assistant coach Tim Grgurich kept them level heads and knew how to relate. The same could not be said for Karl.
“(Grgurich) did the same thing with me, Kenyon, because I used to want to kill George’s a– every other f—–g day,” Payton said, as transcribed by Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com. “I wanted to beat his head in, and you know what I’m saying? But it was Grgurich who (talked me down).
“You got to understand, Grgurich came from (coaching) guys like that at UNLV, so he knew how to get with us. He always went and recruited guys like ourselves, coming from neighborhoods (like we grew up in), where he knew we just needed to be let loose. Don’t put all that boundaries on us. Man, let us get loose, let us do what we got to do! And that’s why we all love him to death because he knew what we needed. I get it because some nights on them teams, you’re gonna to want to kill somebody, you’re gonna want to kill somebody.”
On Thursday, Martin shared a clip on Instagram of the latest episode of Neat And Unfiltered with Jadakiss and himself. They discussed Donovan Mitchell wanting to play in game one against the Grizzlies, but the team said no. Martin Sr. shared that there was a time in the playoffs where he only played seven minutes in the first half and wanted to beat George Karl at halftime.
“Listen, George Karl played me seven minutes in the first half and I threatened to beat up at halftime. This is a real story, we played the Clippers in the playoffs, seven minutes in game two. I lost my s*** on that man,” said Martin.
“If Sprewell never choked P.J Carlesimo, I would have beat George Karl in that hall. Played me seven minutes, can you imagine not playing me at all in a playoff game? The fool I would have acted.”
According to NBA TV analyst Brendan Haywood, Karl will never work in the NBA again.
“Negative! Very negative around the league, George Karl is not someone that… I rarely hear former players that played for George Karl tell positive stories. I don’t think George Karl will ever work in the NBA again because his rep is that bad. That is a Carolina guy too,” said Haywood.
The Denver Nuggets take on the Portland Trail Blazers tonight on NBA TV.