Bucks Diary

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Return of The Karl (aka The Devil Himself)


In 1999 the Bucks made a Faustian bargain they would come to regret. After years of abysmal mediocrity, they hired George Karl to coach their team. For the mere cost of a couple million bags of silver, "The Karl" offered the same sinister bargain he offers every team interested in his services. The promise of temporary good fortune and the certainty of ultimate disaster. For some reason the Bucks thought it was a good deal. I suppose they were desperate, weren't they?

And, like the devil will do, The Karl delivered the Bucks the pyrrhic victory he promised. He brought them to their first Conference Championship series since the 1980s, and within one game of their first NBA Finals since 1974. Happy days were here again. The Bucks were back on top. All hail The Karl!

Then came the inevitable crash.

In the wake of the team's postseason success, The Karl was given the keys to all of BucksNation. He grabbed them and proceeded to turn it into a wasteland of unfulfilled promise and broken dreams. Remember how the Bucks were supposed to contend for a title? Never happened.

Instead, Karl cooked up some bitterly disappointing .500 seasons by mixing equal parts egomaniacal authoritarianism (remember his pedantic, often gratuitous, badgering of players in the media?) and hideous personnel recommendations (signing the cancerous Anthony Mason? trading Ray Allen in his prime for the declining Gary Payton?). He then systematically caused the team to: (1) factionalize into superstar driven cliques; (2) turn against each other; (3) turn against Karl and all of his methods and teachings; (3) effectively cease to function as a working unit; and finally, (4) disintegrate to the point that the owner had to destroy the team in order to save the franchise.

Now the pattern appears to be repeating itself with the Nuggets. Numerous player alienations and the curious acquisition of square peg talent like Allen Iverson. These are the calling cards of The Karl. Denver should see what's coming, and drive a stake into The Karl's heart before its too late. But they won't. Nobody ever does. The only question is: what will it cost them not to?

It cost the Bucks the biggest star they've had in a generation (Ray Allen), one who actually enjoyed playing in Milwaukee. When they lost him for virtually nothing they had to start over again. All that for one season of semi-glory. That is what The Karl wrought.


Photo Credit: JSonline.com

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