Denver Nuggets coach George Karl returns to the bench after battling throat and neck cancer and brings with him a few lessons in survival:
• On the life-changing aspects of cancer: “My whole thing right now is, 'Life is precious, my time is important, so don’t waste it with your goofball mentalities.'”
• On money: “It’s overrated. It causes as much pain as happiness. I was the highest-paid coach when I was in Milwaukee, and that is not a good position to be in. When you’re the highest-paid coach, they expect you to win championships. The criticism and sarcasm that come with being No. 1 was not worth it.”
• On lying: “It took too many years for me to realize that when dealing with the toughest things, honesty makes you feel better and usually works out a whole lot better.”
• On excelling at your game: “The thing about basketball is that it’s a game of mistakes as much as it’s a game of success. I now realize you have to respect the game when it is being played well and respect that the game will not always be played well.”
• On stopping an opponent: “Deny him the ball. He can’t score without the ball. Don’t let him get into his comfort zone. If he does, it’s over. Be physical and let him know he’s gonna have to go through some bumps, elbows and grinds before he gets his shot.”
— Adapted from “Survival Skills: George Karl,” Stephen Rodrick, Men’s Journal.