Monday, December 19th, 2011 at 1:35 pm  |  41 responses

George Karl: You Don’t Need a Superstar to Win a Championship

I mean, you can technically win an NBA title without a superstar or two (see: 2004 Detroit Pistons), but it’s an extremely rare and difficult occurence. Nice try, though, George Karl. From SRI (via KKFN in Denver): “What is your message for Nuggets fan with Nene Hilario? How should they view Nene? ‘I think, I hope, as I am preaching to the team is the Denver Nuggets is going to be out being a team. It has nothing to do about individuality and basically screw all the guys out there that think you gotta have a superstar to win a championship. I’m just not into the hype.’”

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  • http://SportsCipher.com Jaamal Braithwaite

    Karl is completely wrong. I agree with the writer of this post, the ’04 Pistons were the only team to do so.

  • Bawse

    Enjoy flirting with .500 and not ever winning!

  • http://nba.com GP23

    The ’04 Pistons had Ben Wallace, and he was an All-Star in 04, as well as an All-NBA player.

  • Yann Blavec

    No. You need two.

  • T-Money

    winning championships is also not his type. few coaches have constantly underachieved with great talent like george karl. and yet, he keeps getting jobs.

  • feez_22

    The 04 pistons may be the exception BUT lets not act like there were strictly non all stars on that team. That team sent 4… let me repeat… 4 All Star Starters to the 06 ASG. That was 2 yrs after their championship so the team clearly had fringe all stars and ben wallace whom according to gp23 was an all star in 04. That 04 finals MVP could have easily been big ben’s and if it were this convo wouldn’t happen. fact is you need an all star to win. at least. Even in the worst competitive yr since 1990 (1994) the rockets had a bonafide star. so ya… karl is false here. besides… karl hasn’t even won a championship and he’s had stars/ no stars so what is he talking about?

  • LA Huey

    If not, a superstar, you need multiple All-Stars.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    lol sure you don’t George. Because the 04 Pistons happen all the time.


    George Karl is such the anti-Phil Jackson. He can’t manage egos, because he can’t even manage his own!

  • Youngindy21

    The Indiana Pacers are about to prove what George Karl said right. Maybe not this year but fairly soon.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk


  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    lol cosign LA huey

  • ripslam

    Clearly he’s speaking from experience…

  • Heals

    Depends on how you define superstar, but as most have already stated good luck with that approach George…

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    if you have a couple all stars and alot of quality depth u probably dont

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Young Money

    Common y’all. He’s not speaking eternal truth here. He’s trying to appeal to the players that he has, the fans and his own reality. Similarly many here say that any player has to claim he’s the best in the world or that his team is going for a chip. Same thing. Self justification. On the flip side we’ve seen teams with 4 superstars implode. 3 superstars as well. see last year. No guarantees there. So give coach Karl a break.

  • BasketballJunkie

    said the coach with no rings….

  • Gregg

    BOBCATS BABY!!! It’s happening this year!!! :)

  • http://slamonline.com YKnoT

    Yeah, it’s like when he almost won it all those bench warmers Payton and Kemp!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/09/jermaine-oneal-i-wasn%E2%80%99t-doing-enough-to-earn-my-money/ zz

    They had Ben Wallace. He was a defensive monster… Bill Russell was also focused on defense and he was a star. So is BIG BEN.

  • Allenp

    Was Bill Walton a superstar when the Blazers won? What about Wes Unseld? The right mix of players can win. Sadly most GMs and coaches can’t handle that situation.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Wes Unseld was an MVP & Rookie of the Year in the same season, yes he was a superstar. And yes, Bill Walton was definitely superstar. 18.6PPG 14.4RPG 3.8APG & 3.2BPG – All NBA 2nd Team, All NBA Defensive 1st Team. All Star. He was the #1 overall pick, came out of college as a some considered the best college player of all time. He was basically already a superstar before he was even drafted, then produced like one in his early years in the league to solidify that reputation/title..

  • haslem

    Walton won an MVP, of course he was a superstar. Before his injuries he was the most dominant center in the NBA after Kareem.

  • ab40

    Denver is loaded with talent and if the players can accept the minutes they get the team can make a run at a high playoff sead and maybe even upset a team when there. A championship might be a litlle far fetched but I like the direction the team is going post melo. Make no mistake the knicks played worse when he got there and the nuggets played better. He is a ball stopper and so is Amare so that’s a lot of eggs in those baskets and if they have a bad night or injury issues they’re in trouble. I like what Denver is doing and I’m gonna watch em this year. Just don’t never ever say Ty Lawson is a franchise changing player. Dude sucked in Lithuania and basketball isn’t that different accros the pond.

  • robb

    One superstar one all star and a good bench

  • bike

    Be nice if it could happen, but sadly, it never will. Don’t think today’s nba coaches could pull it off. John Wooden was the only coach that could conceivably pull off a championship with a team with no all-stars.

  • thecomputerdude

    Explains why George has not won a ring….

  • Mike from Spain

    Someone might win a chip without already established superstars. If someone in your team wins the NBA title, chances are someone in your team will get the MVP trophy. Does that prove the point that you don’t need a superstar wrong? I don’t think so. You don’t need an already established superstar for a team to have some people perform like one. You can see the rise of a superstar in that winning season. Clearly, George Karl is not saying that you can win without your players contributing, which is what you seem to be thinking.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    George Karl’s comment is accurate based on one other point: If you don’t have a superstar…and the other guys do’s…they’ll get the crucial calls/non-calls down the stretch… George Karl still lies awake thinking how MJ crossed Hornacek over with the most blatant carry-ball dribble for the clutch game winning jump shot….followed by the following finals where he blatantly pushes off of Byron Russell for the clutch game winning jump shot…. the only people that don’t see that as blatant (other than Bulls fans) issues…is of course……REFEREES. They love superstars.

  • http://www.slamonline.com SMills

    Well then ladies and gentlemen, look out for your toronto raptors to bring home the championship. They don’t have to worry about having a superstar to deal with.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    If you dont have some superstars then you damn sure need an alignment of the stars.

  • http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=pawtucketymca Gametime

    Pistons had Larry Brown, pretty much a superstar.

  • david

    the 79-80 sonics had dennis johnson but before he was known to be legendary…

    maybe karl just means “in theory…”

  • Justin G.

    Bryon Russell must have been pretty weak to fall over from this supposed push off with one hand while stepping back. Give me a break. Watch it in real time and not some super slo-mo where you see his hand on Russel’s hip. This topic came up on Open Court on NBA TV, and the only person that called it an offensive foul was Reggie Miller and that’s only because he was trying to deflect the shots he was taking from the guys about his own EXTRA blatant two handed push off on Jordan to win Game 6 against the Bulls that year. All the other guys said that it wasn’t a foul. I wonder if Jerry Sloan made the same comments that Karl did you people would be making the same stupid “Coming from a guy with no rings” comments. And btw, he was never close to winning with Seattle. That series was never really close unless you count just being in the Finals as close

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I have no problem letting that one slide. But the carry-ball on hornacek was rediculous.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I would love to play ball against you justin g. lets see you not want that call if i’m freeing myself up for room….

  • Justin G.

    I’d have to look at the Hornacek one again as I don’t remember it right now. Dacre, I don’t know how big or strong you are but if you’re anywhere near my height and weight (6’3″, 225) I don’t think your hand on my hip is going to knock me over that easily, at least not as apparently easy as Russell goes down. Also, I don’t remember him making any complaints after the game, at least not in any interviews I saw. Again, watch it in real time. It isn’t an offensive foul. I’ll take the opinion of a bunch of legends over YMCA players anytime.

  • Yesse

    Well i agree with him, but sometimes even 4 superstars don’t cut it (Boston 2 seasons ago) or 3 (Miami).

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    @Dacre – Just checking: you know Karl didn’t coach the Jazz, right?
    @nbk – On the money about Walton and Unseld.
    The ’79 Sonics might be up there with the ’04 Pistons.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    That Sonics team is he only other team without a superstar that I can think of. But it did only take 3 series for the title back then. But that team didn’t have a real superstar.

  • Saurav

    I respect his opinion. Karl is a very good coach and admires teamwork. He clearly said those words to boost the morale of his team. Denver might not be a championship team but is clearly playing better than Knicks, I Bellevue they have at least two guys who can be titled as a superstar. I would love to believe him and hopefully he can prove that someday.