NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — George Karl shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from Carmelo Anthony after he ripped his former player as selfish and uncommitted in his new autobiography.
In “Furious George,” due out next month, Karl, who coached Anthony for six years with the Denver Nuggets, called the current Knicks star “the best offensive player I ever coached,” but added that Anthony was also “a user of people, addicted to the spotlight and very unhappy when he had to share it.”
Karl said he grew particularly frustrated with Anthony’s disinterest in improving his defensive game.
“He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy,” Karl wrote, according to multiple reports. “My ideal — probably every coach’s ideal — is when your best player is also your leader. 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.”
The longtime NBA coach wrote about Anthony’s off-the-court troubles while playing for the Nuggets, including being arrested on DUI and marijuana charges and getting into a bar fight. The longtime coach also wrote that Anthony once refused to go back into a game at Detroit in the final minute or two.
Karl blamed the discipline problems of both Anthony and Kenyon Martin, who played for both the Nuggets and Knicks, on the fact that they grew up without fathers.
“Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man,” the former coach wrote.
Karl said that when the Nuggets traded Anthony to the Knicks in February 2011, it was a relief, “like popping a blister.’’ He added that he believes Denver clearly won the trade, in which the Nuggets received Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and draft picks while New York landed Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
The coach also took shots at J.R. Smith, who played with Anthony in Denver and with the Knicks. Karl wrote that Smith’s father urged him to shoot the ball as often as possible and that Smith “carried “a huge sense of entitlement, a distracting posse, his eye always on the next contract and some really unbelievable shot selection.”
When Anthony was asked before the Knicks’ game against the Magic on Thursday night if he wanted to respond to Karl’s comments, he said, “No way.”
Martin and Smith, however, took to Twitter to lash out at their former coach. Martin called Karl a “selfish” and “cowardly” person who was “by far the worst coach” he had ever played for. Smith tweeted, “Still trying to be relevant. Sad just sad,” presumably in response to Karl.