Kenyon Martin Sr. is the latest player to open up about George Karl. He talks about the time he threatened his former coach’s life during the 2006 playoffs.
On a recent episode of Run It Back, Martin Sr. was asked about the Nuggets’ suspension during their 2006 postseason run. Interestingly, before delving into what happened, the 45-year-old prefaced his story by saying:
Regarding his disqualification, however, Martin Sr. explained that it was due to Carl’s refusal to play him. During Denver’s first two games against the Clippers, he remembers, Carl was playing with several big men in front of him. Therefore, the one-time all-star hit his coach in front of the headquarters, going so far as to threaten his life.
“First of all, George Carl,” Martin Sr. said. “As you can see, there is no love lost at all. What happened was: everyone knew I was having knee problems in Denver. I have had two micro fracture surgeries. I had my patella repaired in Denver and I had knee problems before the playoffs. Agreed I’m going to play a few games and get ready for the playoffs.
George started Francisco Elso in my place. Last few games, go to him before the playoffs. I’m ready to rock, ready to go. He said that he wants to initiate Franciscus, he wants to reward him. Who is going to reward the NBA player? So we lose Game 1 to the Clippers. We are going to the 2nd game, I tell him. “I’m back in the starting lineup.” [He goes], “I’m going to start Francis again.” Now you’re messing with me, now you’re playing with me.
So we start the game, I played seven minutes in the first half. Maybe seven game minutes and we’re half-timed. So at the end of the second quarter, he put Greg Buckner in for Eduardo Najera, and Eddie and I are playing the same position. I say. “Time is running out, three minutes, two minutes, one minute here, I guess I won’t be back.”
So at this point I’m steamed. Like if they could have done the old school illustration, I mean smoke coming out of my ears and nose and my face red, that would have been what they put on me at that point. So I was the first one off the bench. Go to the locker room, get the team in. The coaches meet in the Los Angeles locker room before coming to the locker room. I go right down the hall while they’re talking there, I step in between the coaches and let George take it. I threatened his life and everything. I threatened his well-being.’
The Nuggets lost to the Clippers 4-1 in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.