Even Right Wing Reaching Out to Liberal Karl
"Rush (Limbaugh) hasn't called,'' confirmed Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, known for his liberal views.
But plenty of others have called or written to Karl since he revealed last Tuesday he has a form of throat cancer, including at least one from the right. Karl was asked before Sunday's game again Boston who's the most surprising person he's heard from during this outpouring of support.
"The one I laughed at, George Will sent me a nice e-mail,'' Karl said about the political columnist. "I had met him a couple of times. He has some type of mentally handicapped child. Two people on the extreme ends of spectrums in politics. It made me laugh because I always thought he was the new William F. Buckley of the Republican Party or the right side of the brain thing.''
As far as the basketball world is concerned, Karl has heard from general managers, coaches, players, other team employees and the media.
He's heard from plenty of fans. The Nuggets had a big card set up before Sunday's game that supporters could sign.
"I've been amazed,'' said Karl, who last Tuesday began a 6 ½-week radiation and chemotherapy treatment for what is considered a highly treatable cancer. "I actually came in (Sunday) morning and just said, 'If this keeps up, there's no way I can respond to half of it.'
"The fans are probably as sincere. Some of the letters that I got from people who have the same disease and gone through the same treatment offering their support. Strangers that have never known me before. Pretty cool.''
Among the many coaches to have reached out is Boston's Doc Rivers, who had left a message with Karl before coaching against him Sunday.
"It's tough enough in our league to coach basketball period,'' Rivers said. "When you have to deal with all the other stuff, that's a whole lot different. I've had distractions with family in the past and that's tough. When you have them with yourself, I don't know how he's doing it honestly."
Rivers said those in the NBA family often reach out when somebody is encountering difficulties.
"Not just coaches,'' Rivers said. "Players. Writers who cover teams. We hate each other until something goes bad and then we all love each other. That's good.''
Karl just hopes the outpouring of support won't be a too much of a distraction for his team. He believes the turbulent week played a part in the Nuggets having "lost out mental focus'' in a 107-97 loss Friday at lowly Washington a night after scoring a big 118-116 overtime win at Cleveland.
"The whole thing is figuring out how to keep the challenge ... to find the right path to become the best team in basketball,'' Karl said. "I think the first couple of weeks might be distracting. Maybe we'll have to figure it out a little bit more.''
One thing is for sure. The outpouring of support will continue. Maybe even Limbaugh will end up calling or writing.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson