Rudy Gay Told George Karl 'Welcome to Basketball Hell' When Coach Joined Kings

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2016

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay congratulates new Kings head coach George Karl after after defeating the Boston Celtics 109-101 in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.  Karl was hired earlier in the month to replace Tyrone Corbin.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings have been a sinking ship for years, finishing under .500 in each of the last 10 seasons, something that Rudy Gay seemed to warn former head coach George Karl about in February 2015. 

Per ESPN's Marc Stein, Karl states in his upcoming book, titled Furious George, that upon his first meeting with Gay, the veteran forward greeted him by saying, "Welcome to basketball hell."

Karl's tenure with the Kings was full of valleys with very few peaks to mention. He was hired late in the 2014-15 season and posted a 44-68 mark in 112 games before getting fired after last season ended. 

The decision to fire Karl in April came two months after the Kings waffled on firing him during the All-Star break in February. Stein reported the team was going to fire him but had a change of heart following a meeting with general manager Vlade Divac.

Stein noted that part of the reason the Kings didn't fire Karl during the All-Star break was because he intended to address some concerns within the organization about his defensive scheme and practice policies. 

The Kings have gone through eight different head coaches since the 2006-07 season. Dave Joerger will be number nine when the 2016-17 season begins October 26 against the Phoenix Suns. 

There are a lot of reasons why the Kings have been at or near the bottom of the Western Conference for a decade, but the inability to keep a head coach for any sustained period of time is certainly one of them. 

With Gay essentially telling Karl he was walking into a no-win situation before his first game as head coach, the players understand the culture in Sacramento very well right now.