Whatever happened in Denver, apparently lives on.
Former Nuggets coach George Karl took aim at his former star player Carmelo Anthony Tuesday, after the ex-Trail Blazers forward agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers in free agency.
In his introductory press conference on Monday, Anthony discussed his desire to win his first championship with Los Angeles in his 19th season.
“I think we all know that this is the one thing that I’m missing, right?” Anthony said.
“This is the one thing that it keeps me up at night, it motivates me, because I don’t have it. I want that experience.”
Later that day, Karl responded to Anthony’s comments in a tweet, writing, “And it kept our coaching staff up at night a decade ago when we were stressing the importance of team play and defense!”
Anthony has yet to answer, though his supporters apparently have. In a follow-up tweet, Karl asked for some critics to “lighten up” after claiming he received death threats for his comments about Anthony.
When a Twitter user asked what he said, Karl replied, “That Melo was a ball hog and s–tty defender in Denver.”
Anthony played under Karl, the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history, from Jan. 2005 until Feb. 2011, when a blockbuster trade sent Anthony to the Knicks. Karl would remain head coach in Denver until 2013.
Despite reaching the playoffs each of those six years together, the Nuggets were knocked out in the first round every season — with the exception of Denver’s 2009 run to the Western Conference Finals, when Anthony and Co. were eliminated by the Lakers in six games.
This wasn’t the first time Karl took a shot at Anthony in the public eye. In his 2017 memoir, “Furious George,” Karl slammed the now 37-year-old while recalling their player-coach relationship.
“Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him. He was the best offensive player I ever coached,” Karl wrote. “He was also a user of people, addicted to the spotlight and very unhappy when he had to share it.”
Karl also critiqued Anthony’s “low demand” defense, and said his offensive abilities alone wouldn’t make him a winner.
“I want as much effort on defense — maybe more — as on offense,” he wrote. “That was never going to happen with Melo, whose amazing ability to score with the ball made him a star but didn’t make him a winner. Which I pointed out to him. Which he didn’t like.
“He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense… But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to. Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.”