Former NBA star Kenyon Martin revealed the details of the incident that occurred back in 2006 that led to him getting suspended by the Nuggets. Officially, the suspension was explained as being for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
“Am I allowed to speak freely on here? Well, f*ck George Karl first and foremost,” Martin said on FanDuel TV. “I know it’s early in the morning it’s 7 o’clock, but hey that’s just the way I feel about George Karl. No love lost at all as you can see.”
He then went on to explain what happened that led to his suspension. Martin was dealing with injuries and it was decided that he would sit out the last few games of the regular season and get ready for the playoffs.
During that time Karl put Francisco Elson in Martin’s spot. However, when the playoffs began, the coach decided to reward Elson by keeping him in the starting lineup. “Who the f*ck wants to reward an NBA player?” Martin said while telling the story.
The Nuggets lost Game 1 agains the Clippers, but Karl still started Elson in Game 2. “Now you’re messing with me, now you’re playing with me,” Martin said. “We start the game. I played 7 minutes in the first half. Maybe 7 game minutes and we were down at the half. So towards the end of the second quarter [Karl] put Greg Bucker in for Eddy Najera. Eddy played the same position.”
At that time he was looking at the clock as the second quarter was drawing to the end and concluded that he is going back into the game. “So by this time I’m steaming,” he said.
“I was the first person off the bench [when the second quarter ended],” Martin continued. “Going to the locker room. Team coming in. You know how the coaches meet in the hallway in L.A. before they come in the locker room?
“I go right in the hallway while they are talking. I step in between the coaches and I let you have it. I threaten his life and everything. I threaten his wellbeing. I told him ‘You’re lucky [Latrell] Sprewell chocked PJ Carlesimo.’ Hadn’t that never happened, I would have beaten George Karl that day. Not choke him, I would have beat him up.”
“It took me the whole summer to be able to sit down right in front of him. And before the next season we had a sit-down and he didn’t have much to say. I told him ‘You coach your team, you don’t anything to me, about me and we’re going to be alright. The first time you do – I’m on your ass.'”
“I don’t like George Karl to this day… Any chance I get to put George on the burner — on the grill, I’m gonna put his ass on the grill. Every single time,” Martin said.
Karl saw the interview of his former player and offered a reconciliation. “I’m sorry you’re angry @KenyonMartinSr. I know that feeling. It’s not fun. Let’s talk? And let’s celebrate our Nuggets!!” he tweeted.
Karl added in another tweet: “I coached for almost 40 years and over 500 guys. Most of those relationships are good and I’m blessed to have them as part of my basketball family still! Others are not what I want them to be. But we all focus on relationships that lift us up vs ones that may never heal.”