Maybe it’s just me, but I like learning things about coaches. With the internet and TV the way it is, we know so much about our favorite players because people ask them thousands of questions at a time. Like, we know that Dwight Howard’s favorite movie is “Finding Nemo,” but why in the world do we know that? I don’t know either, but we do.
Coaches though, they’re still kind of a mystery, mostly because they’re not asked nearly as many questions, and when they are, they don’t really care to answer them. That’s why it’s fun to learn new stuff about coaches, at least as far as I’m concerned.
For instance, did you know George Karl was really good at Donkey Kong? Me neither, but it’s true. From Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe, who interviewed new Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, an ABA assistant under Karl:
SI.com: Was George close enough in age then that he could hang out with the players?
Stotts: Oh, yeah. We hung out at a bar, T.J.’s, all the time in Great Falls. We played a lot of Donkey Kong and Missile Command together at T.J.’s.
SI.com: Who was better?
Stotts: George was much better at Donkey Kong. His hand/eye coordination in that game was unbelievable.
So there you go — George Karl is apparently an ace Donkey Kong player. No Billy Mitchell or Steve Wiebe, I’m sure, but it’s still fun to imagine Karl hunched over an arcade game, gunning for a best score. Along with returning to the Nuggets after beating cancer and the time he coached a game while wearing a jersey over a white turtleneck, this is one of my favorite things to know about George Karl. If you ever see him out at a bar and have a spare quarter or two, buy him a game. He’ll love it.