So I’m guessing that you’ve heard by now that George Karl, the Head Coach of the National Basketball Association’s *NBA) Denver Nuggets became the leagues seventh coach to ever win 1,000 games, by defeating the Toronto Raptors 123-116 on the road earlier this month.
The Nuggets publicly announced on July 27, 2005 that Karl had Prostate Cancer – which he recovered from successfully. Then after his fourth time coaching in the All Star game this summer; at Cowboy Stadium, it was revealed that Karl was suffering from treatable Neck & Throat Cancer, as Assistant Coach Adrian Dantley took over the team, which faltered during the second half of the 2009-10 season.
Fortunately the 59-year old Karl has since returned to the sidelines, after being given a Clean Bill-of-Health by Doctors - albeit professing he might not be able to yell as much at his players… Who gave Coach an early Christmas present on December 10th; when the Nuggets were finally victorious in Toronto, as Karl had been stuck on 999 for awhile…
Ironically it was also the Raptors that Karl won his 900th game against, while it was probably even sweeter notching his 800th career victory against the Supersonics.
Meanwhile, Karl’s former team, the Seattle Supersonics who played in the NBA’s Western Conference’s Pacific Division from 1967-2004, before being realigned to the Northwest Division from 2004-2008 have recently been in the news; as the team whose had only four owners over the Franchise’s history, were last owned by the Oklahoma businessman Clay B.A. Bennett (as in the B.A. standing for Benedict Arnold!) who promised “Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge” to keep them in Seattle, before announcing the teams relocation to the “Oakie Dokey Dome” for the 2008-09 season, when the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For myself, Seattle had always had the Sonics thru thick and thin, as sometimes the team was referred to as the Sub-Sonics. Yet the team had a definite renaissance during the late 1980’s for a decade.
Beginning with Bernie Bickerstaff’s Triangle-offense of “Tommy Gunner,” (Tom Chambers) “X-MAN” (Xavier McDaniel) and “Downtown Dale…” (Dale Ellis)
Bernie was then replaced by Coach Karl for the 1992-93 NBA season, where I witnessed Shawn “Man-Child” Kemp go Mano-e-Mano with The Chuckster, Err Sir Charles. (Charles Barkley) Watching during the Western Conference Finals fourth game in the Coliseum - Barkley blatantly fouling Kemp, (basically gang tackling Kemp underneath the basket as Shawn stuffed Barkley’s shot and got the ball…) being called for the foul, before Barkley ran over to the scorer’s table, argued with the officials and had the Public Address announcer croon: There is NO foul on the play; There is NO foul on the play! To which the entire Coliseum erupted into a raucous chorus of BOOS…
Of course Karl had his downfalls in Seattle too, as the following season, with the leagues best record of 63-19, George made history by becoming the very first Number one seed to lose to the eighth seed in the playoff’s, when ironically the Denver Nuggets ousted the Sonics.
But Karl rebounded by taking the Sonics to the NBA Finals in ‘96, having led the squad to the Franchise’s best ever record of 64-18, (during the 1995-96 season) before ultimately losing in six games to the Chicago Bulls. Hey! They had some dude named Air Jordan on that team… As in Uhm? Michael Jordan and his patented Nike shoes; It’s gotta be the shoes – right Mike?
After the 1997-98 season, which saw Karl disagreeing with the teams management, Karl left and the once mighty Supersonics free-failed into mediocrity with new Head Coach Paul Westphaul, who was subsequently fired and replaced by Nate McMillan – who’s subsequently become the Northwest’s Portland Trailblazers Head Coach…
Oh, but what about the Supersonics name reappearing in the news, you ask? Well apparently the buzz got started over the currently floundering New Orleans Hornets, who’ve just been purchased by the National Basketball Association – in hopes of finding a new long-term local owner… While a minimum of four cities presently without Franchises are known to be exploring the possibilities of luring an NBA team to their respective neighborhoods: Kansas City, Seattle, San Jose and Anaheim, with Seattle likely being the lead candidate.
As reputedly, NBA Commissioner David Stern has made no secret of wishing to see Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer become an NBA Franchise owner… As Mr. Ballmer just cashed in a cool 1.4-B, as in One point four Billion of stock for cash… Which Stern hoped might be as a down payment to purchase the Hornets?
Yet, Stern has also made no secret of his disdain for the local Government in Seattle which is unwilling to pay for either renovating the Key Arena; the current home of the reigning WNBA Champion Seattle Storm, or preferably building a new modern stadium with more then the Key’s paltry 17,000 seats.
But it appears this may simply have been posturing by the league in order for New Orleans to step up-to-the plate… As I’ve recently read that Louisiana Governor Bobby Gindall has decided to come to the rescue and proclaim our NBA team AIN’T going nowhere’s – Yuhs Hear? Although somehow Seattle just isn’t quite Seattle without the Supersonics, as only time will tell what happens…