Welcome to Sacramento, George Karl. We are thrilled to have you here as the new coach of the Kings. We think you’ll find you’re a lot like us, and you reflect many of our values.
Like you, we’re scrappy. As a city, we play behind San Francisco and Los Angeles, and that’s emotionally difficult sometimes. We know you know what it’s like to play in San Francisco and against Los Angeles, and to be so close and yet so far from your goal.
When you coached the Golden State Warriors in 1986-87, the team reached the Western Conference semi-finals. As coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, you made it to a Game 7 in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, but couldn’t close the deal. You ran into Allen Iverson. A year later, our Kings made it to Game 7 in the Western Conference finals against the Lakers, but we couldn’t close the deal. We ran into a bad ref, and Shaq. Now he’s on our team as part of the ownership.
Tonight is your first game coaching our team. A snide San Francisco TV sports anchor called the team a tear-down, like some derelict building. We’ve heard it before. We had a great start, 9-5, with a great talent, DeMarcus Cousins. Then it all came apart, again. So we are all ears when it comes to what you can do here.
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We know you’ve pulled some great teams together and brought them to the brink of championships. In Seattle, you got the Sonics into the playoffs all seven years you were there. You got them three division titles. When you led the Bucks, you got them to within one game of greatness.
In Denver, same thing: You won the 2013 NBA Coach of the Year. You reached 900 wins, one of the top NBA coaches of all time. Then the Denver management canned you. Ingrates.
We like that you are a fighter. You are a two-time cancer survivor, and a major contributor to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. You strike us as an all-around good guy. Maybe some of our wayward legislators and lobbyists could take lessons in courage and leadership from you. They work in that other arena a few blocks away from the new one under construction.
We have an experienced coach in that building, too, the guy with the corgi. He has had his ups and downs, too, but still is punching away.
So good luck tonight. We look forward to your fast-paced offense. You can see that we are all pulling for you and the Kings to finish strong this season, and look forward to seeing what you can do next season. We hear you’re looking at hiring the WNBA great Nancy Lieberman as an assistant coach. Cool. More leadership.
We aren’t a tear-down, either. We have lots of good bricks to work with.