SEATTLE - In a wide-ranging interview with Q13’s Aaron Levine, former SuperSonics Head Coach, George Karl had plenty to say about the state of professional basketball in Seattle, or more pointedly, the lack thereof.
“I think it’s kind of embarrassing for me that the NBA isn’t in Seattle,” said Karl. “It’s a basketball town. University of Washington has done great, high school basketball, it’s one of the best cities for high school athletes.”
Seattleites have agreed for years, but perhaps it might satisfy those craving the sport they lost twelve years ago to hear from a trusted voice such as Karl’s.
“To not have a team in Seattle is highly disappointing – not only to me, but to a lot of people.”
Heartbroken fans still dearly clutching green and gold may find it difficult to grasp at hope their team will return. Karl, though, has faith.
“I think if there would ever be expansion, if it would be handled correctly I think Seattle would win.”
How does it happen? We’ve seen rallies, we’ve seen investors and we’ve seen hopes raised and dashed. Karl acknowledges this, but encourages those who love the sport to continue their efforts.
“Let’s keep Seattle relevant and show the NBA that we want it and do whatever we can to influence it.”
That’s not all Karl had to say, though.
Remember that wonderful documentary that entertained the masses during quarantine? It’s a little show called, “The Last Dance” that happened to be viewed on Netflix by over 5 million people, during which Michael Jordan revealed Karl snubbed him in a restaurant in Seattle.
So what really happened? Coach Karl recalled to Levine, “I don’t remember walking by Michael Jordan…I do remember that I was in the restaurant – and my recollection is that I might have ran into him at Gibson’s in Chicago, but I DO know that I ran into him at Palisade’s in Seattle.”
He continued, “We were eating dinner, I was with a big party, he was with a big party – I saw him across the restaurant, Palisade’s is a very large restaurant on the bay in Seattle. And yeah, I didn’t go over – I think at the time we were probably down 0-2, maybe down 0-3. I didn’t feel like talking to him and maybe he thought I stood him up. But I don’t ever remember it being in Chicago like he recalled it.”
However, the lack of interaction may have been played up beyond its face value, according to Karl.
“Michael and I are friends. If it was a professional thing, I could see him having an attitude, but Michael and I played golf before that and we’ve played golf since that together,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but Michael had a history – as do some great athletes – to use things that motivate and focus their tremendous talent of preparation. It might’ve happened and I don’t disagree that he fires himself up.”
That competitive edge prevailed as the Bulls went on to take the Western Conference Championship as well as the 1996 NBA Championship.
Seattle stays relevant among NBA conversations due to those such as George Karl keeping us there. Here’s to hoping we become a larger part of the conversation as a whole in the near future.