Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl surpassed the legendary Phil Jackson for fifth on the NBA's all-time wins list Monday with a 116-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The NBA announced Karl's milestone accomplishment on Twitter:
With tonight's @SacramentoKings win, @CoachKarl22 passes @PhilJackson11 for 5th all-time in coaching wins! https://t.co/vtjj3MtH4f2016-1-5 03:30:50
Karl's 1,156th victory puts him 54 wins shy of Pat Riley for No. 4 on the list.
The 63-year-old head coach is in his second year with the Kings after taking over with 30 games left in the 2014-15 season. He is just 25-39 with Sacramento but has won at every other stop during his career.
Over a 27-year span as a head coach, Karl has taken the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets to the playoffs. His best season came during the 1995-96 campaign, when he won 64 regular-season games with Seattle, falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games in the NBA Finals.
University of Nevada head basketball coach Eric Musselman tweeted out a quote attributed to Karl that might explain some of his success:
Eric Musselman @EricPMusselman
“I’m an old-school guy who believes that effort magnifies talent. Effort unifies a team and creates happiness.” -George Karl2016-1-5 03:10:06
That philosophy has allowed Karl to hear his name mentioned among some NBA greats:
|All-Time NBA Coaching Wins List: Top 5|
If he can coach into next season, he has a great shot at surpassing Riley and possibly Jerry Sloan for No. 3 on the list.
Karl may retire without winning an NBA championship, but there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the all-time greats.