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During his three-decade career as a head coach in the NBA, George Karl has amassed more victories (1,175) than all but four men in league history, including Phil Jackson, generally considered the greatest coach in the game. While Jackson may have earned his iconic status by morphing into the Zen master, Karl has succeeded in the opposite manner-as an excitable firebrand who has never backed down from a confrontation, on the court or off.
As a player-first for the University of North Carolina and later for the San Antonio Spurs-Karl was known for his full-throttle commitment, which often left his legs tattooed with floor burns and his jersey flecked with blood. As a coach, Karl used his combative personality to stand up to diva superstars, such as Allen Iverson, Gary Payton, Carmelo Anthony, and DeMarcus Cousins, among others, who were not used to the style of coaching that demanded they follow the same rules as the rest of the team.
In telling his story, Karl holds nothing back, talking candidly about the greed, selfishness, and ass covering he believes are characteristic of many modern professional players, and about the bottom-line-obsessed decision making that started at the top with former NBA commissioner David Stern, who frequently fined him for speaking out. He’s not that crazy about certain general managers and owners, either.
Off the court, Karl has summoned that inner steel to battle cancer-twice. The second time, it was alongside his son, Coby, whose basketball career was cut short by the disease. Their shared struggle to overcome the toughest of all opponents shows a side of Karl rarely glimpsed by the public-a warmer, more compassionate streak that values family above all else.
Raw, hard-hitting, and brutally honest, Furious George is as in-your-face and entertaining as the game that has defined Karl’s life. Whether in backwater semi-pro towns such as Great Falls, Montana, or Albany, New York, or in NBA cities such as Seattle, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Oakland, Denver, or Sacramento, George Karl coaches one way-all out. And his memoir is everything you would expect from a man who was once fired for being a little too forthright with the media.
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