George Karl Coaching Against Cancer During Lockout

George Karl is a cool guy. He’s coached in the NBA for over two decades, he’s won over one thousand games, he’s got a son who played in the Association, and he helped navigate the Denver Nuggets through the “Melo Drama” of last season into the NBA Playoffs for the twentieth time in his career as a head coach. Last season marked the seventh year in a row he’s helped Denver advance to the postseason too, and that is a run he’s made while also winning a personal battle against cancer at the same time – TWICE.  So just to reiterate, George Karl is a cool guy.

In this photo provided by Quest Diagnostics and the American Cancer Society, Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl talks to the media during a news conference at Quest Diagnostics announcing a new cancer study with the American Cancer Society, Tuesday,...

He’s not just battling cancer personally though, beating it, and then walking away from the fight. While Karl is not quite two years removed from successfully winning a tremendously trying battle with neck cancer himself, which followed a fight with prostate cancer three years prior, he’s also been forced to help his son Coby win his own fight with Lymph Node Cancer too.  Coby, it’s worth noting, is as tough and cool as anybody too, and has since played himself all the way back into NBA-caliber shape as well.  Which has all helped to fuel George Karl’s fight with cancer everyday – even though both he and his son have just recently beaten the disease themselves.

This from

The Denver Nuggets coach lent his voice Tuesday to the American Cancer Society and Quest Diagnostics, which are teaming up on a nationwide cancer prevention study. It aims to follow 300,000 people for 20 to 30 years to see how genetics, lifestyle and the environment affect cancer risk.

“There are a lot of people who want to get into this fight who don’t have cancer, and this is one way,” Karl said.

To be honest, I had never heard of this particular way to get involved with the fight against cancer.  It sounds like a very noteworthy study too, and if it isn’t for NBA guys like Karl delivering this message people like me might have never heard about it.  It’s also great to hear that Coach Karl is looking stronger too, and healthy, as the piece went on to discuss.  

He’s looking much stronger and leaner than he was last season, and his voice is much stronger, which makes it easier for him to talk about preventing cancer.

“I’m very passionate about it. I enjoy talking about cancer,” Karl said. “I enjoy talking basketball more, I’d like to be able to talk basketball but I can’t right now. But you know, my family, everybody has been touched somewhere along the way.”

You can’t help but think with more and more people like Karl involving themselves in the fight, along with groups like The Jimmy V Foundation and so many others, that a cure may be something we see in our lifetimes.  That’s what I like to think at least.  It can only help with guys like Karl on the front-lines too.

Without hoops, Karl is continuing his fight against cancer even though he’s been cured.

“I’m in a stage of survivorship, so basically my treatment is to try to be healthy,” he said. “So much of what I’m trying to do is nutrition-oriented, environment-oriented. I’m a big believer that genetics is the field where I think discoveries are going to be made in the very near future, stem cells. I think we are on the verge of successfully making major hits on the battle against cancer.”

Keep up the great work, Coach, and here’s to your continued health. To donate to the fight against Cancer, click here.

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.