Former Nuggets coach throws massive shade at Lakers’ In-Season Tournament banner, brings up 2020 bubble title

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Former NBA head coach George Karl threw shade at the Los Angeles Lakers for revealing that they’ll raise a banner in Arena for their NBA In-Season Tournament championship.

Karl referenced the Lakers’ NBA title in the 2019-20 season in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble, inferring that it wasn’t a real title.

Although he’s trying to discount the Lakers’ wins in the 2020 NBA Finals and this season’s In-Season Tournament, many fans inside and outside of Los Angeles would likely differ.

The Lakers faced the same conditions as every other playoff team in the 2019-20 season, as they all had to be isolated in Orlando, Fla. to finish the NBA season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any playoff team could have made the run the Lakers did, but they were unable to do so, partially because of Los Angeles’ dominance in the playoffs that season.

The Lakers needed just five games in their series wins against the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets to reach the NBA Finals. From there, the team beat the Miami Heat in six games.

Karl, who coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings in his career, never ended up winning a title as a head coach.

He did win the Western Conference in the 1995-96 season with Seattle, but the team lost in the NBA Finals.

As for this season’s In-Season Tournament, the Lakers had the same path as every other team to win the first edition of the tournament. Los Angeles did not lose a single In-Season Tournament game from group play all the way through the championship game.

It’s an impressive accomplishment for the team, and one that any team would be happy to have accomplished this season.

Karl coached against the Lakers during his career, and the team knocked the Nuggets (coached by Karl) out of the playoffs in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. That was the last time Karl really had a chance to win a title as a head coach, as he never won another playoff series in his career.

Lakers fans can simply brush off Karl’s comments, as the team has simply won all the games it needed to capture both this season’s In-Season Tournament title and the 2020 NBA Finals.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.